Whatever else you might say about it, the thesis that increased income doesn't make people any happier has the appearance of being a calculated insult to those who have to struggle for some of the basic necessities of life. This appearance doesn't by itself make the thesis false, of course; but it should at least put us on our guard against accepting it too readily. I've registered my worries about it before.
A piece here by Eduardo Porter reports that there is evidence that the thesis could be wrong:
Recent analyses of polling data on life satisfaction across the world suggest that countries may indeed become happier as they grow richer.Since this final point seems so intuitively obvious, the real wonder to me is how it can have taken happiness research so long to find evidence for its being true.
Using many polls that span several decades, Justin Wolfers, a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, found that in many countries, growing incomes have been accompanied by increasing happiness.
... [T]he correlation between rising incomes and increasing happiness is much more striking in poor countries - where even a marginal improvement in the quality of life stands out - than in rich ones.