Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Pursuit of Happiness

Every people in the world agree that happiness in life needs to be pursuit, of course with their own definition of what happiness should it be. By definition, happiness is a form of feeling of pleasure or fortunate. The level of happiness itself is varying from a person to another and the form of happiness itself has no tangible form to describe.

I wonder of my personal definition of happiness. I wonder if decent jobs, promising career, great education achievement and good social acknowledgement are the level of happiness I should achieve. Nonetheless, I learned that such kind of things are definition of happiness formed by my surroundings and internalize to my consent by active communication of people around me.

One of the jargon in modern society relates to happiness is called “financial freedom”. Financial freedom is a situation where a person tends not to depend on regular paycheck. Instead, they could direct their views on things outside financial necessity.

I remember a movie based on true story of Chris Gardner, the movie titled The Pursuit of Happiness. At the beginning, Chris was just a salesman of bone scanners. He has to find clients and sell his scanners to survive, the position where he directly attached with financial constraints. One day, he crossed a big building and looked that most of the people came out the building, showed happy faces, those people works as stock brokers.

It was back in early 80’s where stocks market was emerging, and people stacked their wealth from stocks profits. Many people ended up rich, and this lesson learns brought more people to jump in and follow their footsteps. But the story is obsolete these days.

I would like to bring the story to late 20th century and early 21st century. After years of financial boom, a crisis hit several regions in the world. In 1997, there was a crisis of finance in Asia, which not just created bankruptcy of companies but also set back the economy to a decade earlier. The most similar crisis is about to hit us again in short time. The same starter of the crisis is the downfall of construction industry, followed with the downfall of the financial industry. I tend not to discuss the construction but I would bring your attention to the financial industry, which bring Chris Gardner rich and bring thousands poor.

Many people question about what the real cause of the economic downfall. Well, there’s no exact economic theory to explain on how the crisis. But in my consent, I remember a simple economic theory of transaction. The equation is M.V=P.T, where more transaction increase the value of economy. Because each transaction creates mark-up on price, which can also be define as profits. The question is whether the transaction is real or its just a flawless in economy, where we just wait until the perfect time of correction faded the intangible price and set it back to its original.

I believe that this is the heart of financial crisis which hit the economy severely. Just like the story of Chris Gardner, people need to search and pursue their happiness. The jargon says that it can only achieve by economic dependency. Is it? The fact that many people jumped in, answer the question.

Transaction by transaction occurred in stocks, money market and hedging market. People tend not pursue long term economic security but start to seek for easy prosperity. Speculative action brings the economy to different level. Goods and products are not set on its real price; the speed of transaction doubled and even tripled the actual value. Who benefited from this and who loosed from it.

The answer is simple; the early starter gets more benefit while the late starter tends to be loosed. There is not enough room for all players to win, some have to loose. This sets the economy backward. When the early starter took their profits, they took it from others. They can actually dive the economy straight to the bottom, patience to wait paid off.

Those are the reason why government needs to supervise strictly on the money and stocks market. In contrast, maximum support has to be given toward banking industry, which role as intermediaries and provide real financial support to the economy by supporting the business practitioners.

The real support of the economy, coupled with balanced in financial market, will bring the economy on its real form. This is what supposes to be done; this is my definition of happiness. Happiness is where most people benefited real economy instead intangible economy. Don’t call me capitalist or socialist, because for me those do not exist. In my point of view, both had to walk side by side and filling in each other gap. I don’t know how to call it. But that is my place of happiness. Prosperity is the right of all people, in excludable!

By Leo MC Siagian

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