Would exposure to wealth reduce one’s desire to accumulate it?

A population that lives an average life often sees the upper class as the role model. A beautiful big house, luxurious trips to exotic destinations, fine dining etc. are deemed to be the dream lifestyle, the symbols of success; it’s something many people want to achieve in their lifetimes. 

Quicker and easier access to information than any time in history only feeds the fire; one could be constantly bombarded with latest pictures of a seemingly perfect lifestyle with just a smartphone and internet connection, if he chooses to. Facebook, Instagram – name any social media sites and you could always find lifestyle celebrities. 

The problem is, are these really what constitutes a good life? Do people want a beautiful big house because it makes their lives better, or because they want to feel respected and admired by friends and family?

If these people get to be exposed to daily lives of the rich off the internet, inside and outside the mansion, perhaps their desire to attain the same lifestyle would be lowered. For one, a big house needs a lot of maintenance effort to remain tidy and neat to the eyes. That could mean spending a lot of one’s time cleaning around, or having one’s privacy intruded by getting help from domestic workers.

Secondly, also most importantly, one might start to realise the effects of hedonic adaptation; it might not take long for the ‘honeymoon period’, the period that he happily immerses himself in the newly found luxury and comfort to come to an end, and the burden of maintenance work to take over.

That, the realisation of responsibilities that come with a luxurious life, might deter the once-starry-eyed person from pursuing the same path. Instead, it might encourage him to go for something that makes him feel alive, no matter how uncommon it is to pursue such a path in his society, because he has seen what it takes to have an Insta-worthy life, and come to the conclusion that something else is worthier to him.

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