The University of Warwick has been tracking the happiness index of people in countries with rising wealth levels, suggesting that more money actually leads to fewer problems -- but once earnings rise above a certain level the greed urge kicks in and you start getting stressed that nothing's good enough.
The researchers suggest that people gradually get happier as they earn more and a nation's GDP per capita increases, which hits a sweet spot at around the £22k per year salary level. Go higher than that and the masses start thinking above their station in life, expecting bigger houses, better cars, one of those posh coffee machines, a power shower, a jetski, one of those taps that makes boiling water come out, abdominal liposuction and more, which sees happiness begin to erode back down again.
Dr Eugenio Proto, co-author of the report, said: "Any economy which gives its citizens lots of aspiration cannot truly be a bad economy, but this aspiration gap -- the difference between actual income and our desire for things like nicer homes and consumers goods -- eats away at levels of life satisfaction." [Independent]