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For many decades, critics of economic development argued that rising incomes and greater material abundance did not lead to higher levels of happiness. In 1974, Richard Easterlin from the University of Southern California noted that people in richer countries were not happier than people in poor countries. Subsequent research found that the so-called Easterlin Paradox did not exist. Instead, happiness seems to increase with affluence. Today, a different kind of criticism is gaining round. Happiness may be increasing, the critics of economic development concede, but life in a modern capitalist society is more and more devoid of meaning. What are we to make of this criticism?

https://humanprogress.org/article.php?p=1223

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A similar thing could be said about the Church of England. Britain is one of the most Godless countries on earth and yet Anglican and Catholic schools are still very popular because people like the ethos, and parents are prepared to take their kids to church every Sunday to get in. Many find it a rewarding experience, after initial reluctance, but then there is a fair amount of evidence that regular churchgoing increases health and happiness.

Ersatz religion has many of the benefits of the real thing, and the same can be said for ersatz village life. Ever since the Industrial Revolution there has been a romantic longing to return to the countryside, which in the 19th century was largely the idea of High Tories who glossed over the horror of rural life. Yet for the all advantages of city living – sweatshops are generally far better paid than backbreaking agricultural work – there is evidence that urban living has a bad effect on our mental health, with city dwellers 40 per cent more likely to suffer from psychiatric problems.(  (Although the mentally ill are also more likely to move to cities.)

https://capx.co/open-societies-need-to-rediscover-heroic-ideals/