Maybe some of you know the case of Depardieu:
He is a very successful French actor who made a fortune in France and now left the country due to the imposture of a very high tax-rate on extreme incomes beyond 1 mio EUR (1,3m USD) annually. Actually first he moved to Belgium to avoid French taxation, and now – as for some reasons it seems to be difficult to stay there – he was given the Russian citizenship by Putin.
He accepted and now is following through with his threat to leave France – one of the most beautiful countries in the world – in protest against the French tax rate and in favor of a few unnecessary extra bugs – for Russia.
I do not want to discuss the political issue of tax rates here, but my point is another one:
Obviously here we observe a nice case of a person that solely maximizes income against other values.
It seems to be the case (and he states this as the sole reason for leaving France), that only the potentially lower income in France is driving him out of the country.
Thus Depardieu obviously is willing to give up a huge set of other (intangible) values only to maximize his income. And what an income! Even after taxes and even in France with the high rich-taxation, his pre tax income would probably be way beyond 1m EUR (1,3m USD) per year (Feel free to add or correct me if you know more details).
And to increase this from let’s say 2m EUR to let’s say 3m EUR, he is willing to give up:
- His Citizenship
- Proximity to Friends, Family and Relatives he hopefully has in France
- His Reputation
- Social Life that he does seem to value very much
- Short commuting distances to his job
- Probably some career opportunities
- A surrounding using his language
Is this a wise decision?
Did he ever hear about the fact that income increases above 50k USD p.a. (he earns at least 20 times this) are not sustainably boosting your happiness?
Did he ever hear about the fact that happiness heavily depends on social life, on compromise and on being grateful to the good things in life instead of focussing on the unfortunate sides?
An argument left for his decision could be that he might see himself as a freedom fighter against high taxes.
But if he does so (it’s his perfect democratic right), does he do a clever fight?
I don’t think so.
I think he behaves more like the huffy child in that Asterix-cartoon that always says with a read head: “If you don’t give me what I want NOW IMMEDIATELY I will hold my breath until you give it to me”.
I don’t think that way he will reach anything. Probably his political influence (whatever it is) will on the contrary diminish in the future.
And as soon as he will realize this, he will get even more angry.
Anyway, I think this poor guy is behaving very uncleverly from a happiness point of view.
And I would go so far as to predict or to bet that he will enter a serious personal down-turn within the next few years, and no money in the world will help him then.
That’s sad, and maybe he proves me wrong, but I don’t think so.
Well, let’s see, I will keep you posted on this case study in unhappiness.
Cheers and do it better,