From the Louisville Courier-Journal:
Tim Kasser, an authority on issues related to consumption and values who teaches at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., said that people raised in uncertain or harsh economic times tend to be more focused, not less, on acquiring material comforts than the offspring of affluent societies.
“If you look at how the ‘Greatest Generation’ ended up acting once they got money, they certainly built a lot of big houses and got gas-guzzling cars and all the rest,” he said.
Kasser pointed to research that supports the idea that money truly can’t buy happiness. Those who focus on material possessions have a higher incidence of smoking, alcohol and drug abuse and depression, while people who are oriented toward intrinsic values tend to be more content. Happiness in Western industrial society has remained relatively stagnant for the past 50 years, he noted, even as prosperity has grown.