Money is god
Americans have increasingly theorized that money is the definition of "the good life," according to Roper pollsters. In 1975, 38 percent of Americans said that "a lot of money" would comprise the good life, while 63 percent said the same in 1996. This paralleled the responses of incoming collegians between the 1970s and 1990s, who went from valuing developing a "meaningful philosophy of life" to overwhelmingly (75 percent) favoring "making a lot of money" as their top-rated value.
America has an economic system set up to create the kind of mess we've seen recently. Our form of capitalism encourages materialistic values, and the research shows that people high on materialism ... are more likely to engage in unethical business behaviors and manipulate people for their own purposes.
The problem of money-making was not only that it favored earthly delights over divine obligations. It also enflamed the tendency to prefer our own needs over those of the people around us and, more worrisome still, to recklessly trade their best interests for our own base satisfaction. ... it serves the desire for profit which knows no limit.
Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction and our ego satisfaction in consumption. We need things consumed, burned up, worn out, replaced and discarded at an ever-increasing rate.
The American Dream
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized.
It is that promise that has always set this country apart - that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.
The positive effect of both materialism as well as greed on subjective well-being might be short term. It is suggested that on long term materialistic and greedy people experience lower levels of subjective well-being or which doesn't lead to an increase in happiness.
Materialism is negatively associated with life satisfaction.