In this lower growth, uncertain and ever-more unequal world, an issue is gaining prominence: that of a wealth tax. For instance, a group of American billionaires has just been calling publicly for a “wealth tax,” and our own little survey at the Wellness Barometer (very limited and hence with no real scientific validity) shows that ultra-high-net-worth families are surprisingly receptive to the idea. Some even link it to wellbeing.

How can that be? There is a tremendous amount of scientific literature examining the impact of money and income on happiness (subjective wellbeing in the economists’ jargon) but much less on how spending affects happiness (even though it is now a “given” that altruism positively contributes to our sense of wellbeing).

A famous study conducted 10 years ago by specialists of pro-social behaviour concluded that spending money on other people has a more positive impact on happiness (a proxy for wellness) than spending money on oneself. The link between wellbeing and paying more taxes among the richest at first seems tenuous, but it may have, after all, some real validity.

We hope that academic research will soon shed some light on this intriguing relationship. One thing is certain: A growing number of rich people want to do more with their money than chasing returns and argue that giving it away (even through taxes) may be conducive to a greater sense of personal wellbeing. Watch this space.

2 thoughts on “More Rich People Calling for Wealth Taxes”

  1. I follow your publication closely for the latest insights on wellness. However, the headline of this latest post is incredibly irresponsible. It is neither true nor scientifically proven by a detailed study, something that I, and many in my industry, rely on GWI to provide. A headline like this undermines your credibility as a fact-based organization. A wealth tax is a socialist construct that assumes government will know best how to allocate these funds and use them efficiently and wisely. History proves over and over again that this is not the case; instead, wealth taxes are both an economic disincentive and completely subjective. Please keep to the facts and continue to bring us information that is supportable by hard data.
    Thank you.

  2. This article is so wrong. You need to clarify rich and the rich talking about paying more taxes have $50mm or Billions of dollars as you wrote. It is literally less than the top 1% of all earners and if they want to pay more tax, then can easily start writing checks to the government!

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