Opinion: All this getting, spending and lobbying

Nobel laureate novelist VS Naipaul described the pursuit of happiness as "an immense human idea". It is also an idea - and an ideal - that we are repeatedly being told we are failing to attain. As clinical psychologist Oliver James has argued, the epidemic of affluenza, an obsessive, envious virus, has resulted in huge increases in depression, anxiety and addictions. Modern life, he says, is making us mad. And he's far from alone: there's now a whole literature of unhappiness.

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