Economist Richard Layard believes that although people are getting wealthier and living more comfortably, they’re not getting happier. He argues in Happiness: Lessons from a New Science that a “zero-sum game of competition for money and status has gripped rich societies, and that this rate race is a big source of unhappiness.” Studies show that only about 30% of Americans identify themselves as “very happy,” a number that has remained constant since the 1950s despite the fact that incomes have doubled (even taking inflation into account)
To judge by actions, consumerism is a cherished value in contemporary American society. Yet trusting in more and better things to make us happy is misplaced trust. Only faith in God can bring meaning to our lives. (Today in the Word, June 2007)
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