Why haven’t Americans become much happier even though they became much richer? I really think there’s something to the idea that the way we’ve lived and worked as we’ve become richer hasn’t had much payoff in an increased sense of autonomy. There’s a left-wing version of this argument that stresses a sort of enslavement by false consumer desire, an imagined loss of worker’s rights, and so forth. There’s something to this. But I’m stewing up version of the argument that stresses barriers to self-employment, the debt loads and like-it-or-not rootedness encouraged by the American cult of homeownership, that sort of thing. Consider this a preview.
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