Are we willing to accept that having more wealth – no matter how someone acquires it – is a sign of being more advanced? Surely there are other measures we could use to determine if we have enough, besides comparing ourselves to those who happen to have amassed more money and things than we have. If the measure of success is having more than the people around us, then that is a recipe for failure.
Comparing with others simply cannot bring happiness. Even if happiness did come from being the best or having the most, ultimately only one person in the world – the one with the most – could ever be truly happy or “successful.” Everyone else would be condemned to failure.
I think we have to be very careful not to confuse economic success with personal happiness. Just because we have a market economy does not mean we have to have a market society. We can find ways to relate to each other on different principles than business ones. We could define development in terms of how much we are able to increase bonds of friendship and closeness, and by how central we make community and mutual affection.
When I think of a society that creates happiness, I think of a society where compassion and love replace competition and greed as the emotional forces that bind us together. ~ 17th Karmapa