“… beyond a certain point, greater affluence does not increase happiness or mental health.
“True, within developed nations the poorest classes are more liable to be mentally ill than the richer ones. True also, the poorest developing nations are less well off emotionally than developed ones. But once you have the income of someone among the top two thirds of a developed nation, whether ye be as rich as Richard Branson or a humble psychologist, it makes no difference to your happiness or mental health.
“For instance, 37% of a sample of 49 super-rich people were less happy than the national average. In another study, there was no difference between the happiness level of 22 lottery winners and comparison samples of average people or paraplegics.
“A recent cabinet office report confirmed that, despite huge increases in affluence compared with 1950, people throughout the developed world report no greater feelings of happiness. However, thus far, the government has ignored another crucial fact: not only are we no happier, we are actually far more prone to mental illness. That advanced capitalism, especially the US variety, is making us ill is not something New Labour wants to think about.
The Guardian | Oliver James: Children before cash
AboutThis is an unfocused catch-all personal blog written by a South African environmental journalist living in Cape Town. My professional blog is Leaves of language.
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