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    How much money does happiness cost?

    Study after study shows that inhabitants of richer countries are, on average, significantly happier than those in poorer ones — but there are clear limits to what money can buy.Rises in income produce large improvements in happiness for people in poorer countries, by meeting basic needs for shelter, food and sanitation. However, once the income reaches past $20,000 a year, the increase in happiness is minimal.

    Robert E. Lane suggests that this is because the two main sources of happiness, material comfort and social and familial intimacy are often incompatible.  While economic growth increases the comfort of the material, it weakens social and family ties by commercializing relationships, and spending more time at work or away from the family to maintain economic lifestyle.

    Notes from “Does Money Buy Happiness?” by Robert E. Lane, Atlantic, January/February 2003.

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