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The surprise is that after a person's annual income exceeds $10,000 or so, Veenhoven found, money and happiness decouple and cease to have much to do with each other. The study, which has been replicated in the U.S., shows that Grandma had a point. Over the past two decades, in fact, an increasing body of social-science and psychological research has shown that there is no significant relationship between how much money a person earns and whether he or she feels good about life. TIME's poll found that happiness tended to increase as income rose to $50,000 a year. (The median annual U.S. household income is around $43,000.) After that, more income did not have a dramatic effect. Edward Diener, a psychologist at the University of Illinois, interviewed members of the Forbes 400, the richest Americans. He found the Forbes 400 were only a tiny bit happier than the public as a whole. Because those with wealth often continue to feel jealousy about the possessions or prestige of other wealthy people, even large sums of money may fail to confer well-being.|
Veenhoven发现，奇怪的是在个人年收入超过1万美元左右后，钱和快乐两者会分离，它们相互不再会有多大关系。 这项在美国。。的研究显示老人们的话是有道理的。 在过去20年来，事实上，越来越多的社会科学上和心理学上的研究开始显示出在人赚多少钱和是否对生活感觉良好之间没有重大关系。《时代》的民意调查发现快乐往往随着当年收入在上升至5万美元的过程中也随之上升。（美国中等家庭年收入在4.3万美元左右)。超过这个数字，收入增加并不会带来显著效果。伊利诺斯州州立大学心理学家Edward Diener采访了福布斯美国富豪榜上前400名富豪。他发现他们比整体公众的快乐程度只稍稍高一点。因为，那些拥有财富的人往往会继续对其他夫人进行的财产和名望产生嫉妒，即便大笔大笔的钱也无法赐予人们快乐。
That seems true because of a phenomenon that sociologists call reference anxiety--or, more popularly, keeping up with the Joneses. According to that thinking, most people judge their possessions in comparison with others'. People tend not to ask themselves, Does my house meet my needs? Instead they ask, Is my house nicer than my neighbor's? If you own a two-bedroom house and everyone around you owns a two-bedroom house, your reference anxiety will be low, and your two- bedroom house may seem fine. But if your two-bedroom house is surrounded by three- and four-bedroom houses, with someone around the corner doing a tear-down to build a McMansion, your reference anxiety may rise. Suddenly that two-bedroom house--one that your grandparents might have considered quite nice, even luxurious--doesn't seem enough. And so the money you spent on it stops providing you with a sense of well-being.
这点似乎是正确的；因为社会学家们将一种现象称之为”参照焦虑“--更通俗的说法，”相互攀比“。按照这个观念，大部分人在评价自己的财产时都是用别人的做比较。人们往往不会问自己，”我的房子满足了我的需要吗？“而是会问：”我的房子有邻居的漂亮吗？“ 如果你拥有一幢带两卧室的房子；而在周围的人也都有一幢带两卧室的房子，那么，你的”参考焦虑‘程度就低，而你的房子也算不错。但是如果你的两卧室的房子附近周围全都是三/四卧室的房子；拐角处某位正在拆房要建造阔绰的大房子，那么你的“参照焦虑”会升高。突然间，也许在你祖父们眼里看来相当漂亮、甚至是奢侈的两卧室房子似乎就不够了。 所以，你在房子上花的钱就不再给你带来幸福感。
Our soaring reference anxiety is a product of the widening gap in income distribution. In other words, the rich are getting richer faster, and the rest of us are none too happy about it. During much of U.S. history, the majority lived in small towns or urban areas where conditions for most people were approximately the same--hence low reference anxiety. Also, most people knew relatively little about those who were living higher on the hog.
我们猛增的”参照焦虑“是产生自逐渐增大的收入差距。 换句话说，有钱人更快地变得更有钱了，剩下的人就不高兴了。在美国历史大部分时期， 大部分人口居住在小镇或市区。对多数人来说那里的环境都相同-因此“参照焦虑”度低。而且，多数人相对很少了解那些上层阶级。
But in the past few decades, new economic forces have changed all that. Rapid growth in income for the top 5% of households has brought about a substantial cohort of people who live notably better than the middle class does, amplifying our reference anxiety. That wealthier minority is occupying ever larger homes and spending more on each change of clothes than others spend on a month's rent. It all feeds middle-class anxiety, even when the middle is doing O.K. In nations with high levels of income equality like the Scandinavian countries, well-being tends to be higher than in nations with unequal wealth distribution such as the U.S. Meanwhile, television and the Web make it easier to know how the very well off live. (Never mind whether they're happy.) Want a peek inside Donald Trump's gold-plated world? Just click on the TV, and he'll show you. Wonder what Bill Gates' 66,000-sq.ft. megamansion is like? Just download the floor plan from the Internet!
但是，在过去的几十年间，新的经济力量改变了一切。前5%的家庭的收入在迅速增长，这导致了有一大批人明显比中层阶级生活地更好。增加了我们的参照焦虑度。更有钱的少数人拥有越来越大的房子、花在衣服上的钱比有些人交房租的都多。 这都使得中产阶级焦虑度提高--即便中产阶级也表现不做。在收入平等程度高的像北欧那些国家人们的幸福程度往往要比美国这样存在财富不平等国家的要高。同时，电视、互联网使人们更容易知道真正有钱人是怎么生活（先不管是否这些人是否快乐）想看看Donald Trump的”贴金“的家吗？只要打开电视机，他会带你参观。想了解比尔盖茨66000平方英尺的巨型家是什么样子吗？只要从互联网上下载一份房屋设计图。