Does money bring happiness?

If someday, someone gives you $9k to spend it the way you want to, will it improve your happiness? For some people, it might, but we can’t be sure of everyone. That’s what a Japanese Billionaire is trying to find out. 

Japanese fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa will give away more than $9mn to 1,000 people on Twitter to see if it improves their happiness as a part of a social experiment. The only criteria to be rewarded is to retweet his tweet.  

Calling this contest a “serious social trail”, the fashion mogul announced it on YouTube. The purpose of this is to see what impact this money could have on a person’s life. 

Through the video, Maezawa asked contestants to use the money “as they like” and just answer regular questionnaires about their spending. He also called for social scientists to help analyze the results of the experiment. 

His giveaway idea is associated with the concept of basic income, or the theory of providing a periodic no-strings-attached payment to all citizens, that has gained traction in some political circles. He said that he “has the money and free time” to make the payments, and felt the need to try and inspire greater debate over the merits of the theory in Japan. The idea of basic income has also gained traction in the United States as well, where income inequality continues to grow rapidly. In recent years some of the wealthiest entrepreneurs, from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to investor Warren Buffett, have also pledged to give away most of their wealth.

More than 4 million people responded to his tweet and retweeted it. Winners will be determined by a lottery system and Maezawa will personally notify them in a direct message.

This is the second giveaway from the billionaire. Earlier in January last year, he pulled the same stunt where he distributed $914k between 100 of his Twitter followers. Each winner got more than the current amount of $9k.

In his previous giveaway, he even broke a Twitter record. His January 2019 tweet was the most retweeted ever at that time, with 4.68mn retweets.

Musk and Yusaka at SpaceX Launch, Image Credits: Reddit

An avid collector of art, Maezawa is estimated at $2bn according to Forbes. He will also be the first private passenger to fly around the moon with Elon Musk’s SpaceX. In November last year, he secured a $900 million payday through the sale of his online fashion business Zozo Inc to SoftBank Group Corp.

Maezawa said that given that he “has the money and free time” to make the payments, he felt the need to try and inspire greater debate over the merits of the theory in Japan.

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