One of the lessons of the many studies of happiness is that the more you have already, the more it takes to make you happier. In that sense, we’re on a curve of diminishing returns, which drives us to exponentially higher levels of consumption in order to satisfy our desire for happiness.
Meanwhile, the planet’s natural resources are in overshoot. We’re extracting more and faster than the biosphere can re-generate. The fat, virgin sources of materials are getting depleted, and we’re moving to the margins, where it gets ever more costly – in terms of money and disruption – to extract resources.
We’re in a pinch; we need much more to feel happier, but it’s getting harder and harder to produce it.