The trap of stuff was the topic of an interesting conversation between Australian economist Richard Denniss and Kim Hill on her Saturday morning National Radio show. Their conversation went down some interesting tangents about what really makes people happy – stuff, stuff and more stuff? But is it the stuff of dreams or nightmares?

According to Richard Denniss, many people end up buying stuff they never use – books sit on the shelves and shoes that sit in the cupboard. Are people really buying the illusion that one day they will have time to read those books and wear the shoes? If so, it’s a Catch 22, because the more we spend, the more we have to work to pay for it all. His argument is that the obsession with new stuff ends up making people unhappier.

Disposable incomes have been increasing over the past three decades, but it doesn’t seem to have increased peoples’ sense of well-being. Richard Denniss suggested that maybe it’s because we compare ourselves to very few super-rich like Bill Gates. What he was saying wasn’t new, but it makes a change to hear it from an economist, and an entertaining one at that. To hear the whole conversation, click here.