Consider this bit of startling finding: once people have an annual income of about $10,000 per capita, more money doesn't go far in making them happy. (We're talking about worldwide per capita income, not US).
Indeed, a growing number of economists are realizing that consumption is not equal to happiness. So they're asking: what makes people happy?
What is different is that these economists are revisiting old assumptions and asking new questions. They’re not taking the neoclassical model of rational economic man for truth. They have been willing to learn from their colleagues in psychology. They have given up on the old assumption that the more you consume, the better off you are; instead, they are actually looking at the question empirically. Most importantly, they are bravely asking, “What factors make people happy?” It’s another sign of the coming revolution in economics.
Consider this: once people have an annual income of about $10,000 per capita, further income does little to promote happiness. Worse yet, economic growth in most industrial nations, which has tripled or quadrupled our wealth since 1970, hasn’t made us noticeably happier. In some countries, despite all this vast increase in wealth and consumption, folks are less happy than they were a generation ago.
Here's an interesting article by Tom Green of Adbusters: Link