Comparative international studies. . . report that once a nation has achieved a moderate level of per capita income, further increases in wealth bring only slight increases in perceived well-being. . . . Beyond the minimum level of income essential to meeting basic needs, the authentic relationships of strong communities are a far better predictor of happiness and emotional health than the size of one's paycheck or bank account. . . . Over the last half of the twentieth century, inflation-adjusted U. S. gross domestic product per capita tripled, yet surveys indicate the self-reports of satisfaction with life have remained virtually flat.
From David Myers, "The Secret to Happiness," http://www.yesmagazine.org/, summer 2004 as quoted in Brian D. McLaren's latest book, Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crisis and a Revolution of Hope, pages 210-211.