A report in the New York Times suggests that Maybe Money Does Buy Happiness After All. Or is it just more evidence of the ongoing collapse of the Easterlin paradox. A quick summary of the main point of the article,
Economic growth, by itself, certainly isn’t enough to guarantee people’s well-being — which is Mr. Easterlin’s great contribution to economics. In this country, for instance, some big health care problems, like poor basic treatment of heart disease, don’t stem from a lack of sufficient resources. Recent research has also found that some of the things that make people happiest — short commutes, time spent with friends — have little to do with higher incomes.By and large affluence is a pretty good deal.
But it would be a mistake to take this argument too far. The fact remains that economic growth doesn’t just make countries richer in superficially materialistic ways.Economic growth can also pay for investments in scientific research that lead to longer, healthier lives. It can allow trips to see relatives not seen in years or places never visited. When you’re richer, you can decide to work less — and spend more time with your friends.