A few days ago, I lamented the rise of conspicuous consumption, and wondered whether all our luxuries were actually making us depressed. My logic was simple: we adapt to what we have – it stops making us happy – but we are constantly being barraged with all sorts of new needs, like HDTV’s, and blu-ray DVD’s, and copper saute pans. Many of these expecations are bound to be unfulfilled, and that disappoints our dopamine neurons, which doesn’t feel good.
Well, here’s further evidence that Americans are stuck on the hedonic treadmill. Every year, we take more and more things for granted. Our wants have a way of becoming needs: