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Opinion: For wealthy people, money actually buys happiness — which may explain a lot about our culture

A Rolls Royce on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills in 2013.
( Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: One study’s finding that rich people’s happiness tends to be focused on themselves and that nonrich people’s is more often associated with feelings of love and compassion for others could tell us that some of the rich are using wealth to replace a missing sense of connection with others. (“Rich people experience happiness in a more self-centered way than poor people, study suggests,” Dec. 19)

That wealth can be used and sought in that way may be what causes some people not to find any level of wealth or power to be “enough” and what underlies the intensity and even desperation of the attempt to secure ever-more advantages for wealth. We observe this now in the political sphere.

One can never get “enough” of what is only a stand-in for what one really needs.

Joseph Maizlish, Los Angeles

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To the editor: This article resonated with me because for years, every time I exited the 405 Freeway at Santa Monica Boulevard traveling east, I had to endure looking at two large billboards on both the north and south sides of the street.

For years I looked at the face of Bijan Pakzad coyly grinning down on us, his billboards advertising to only privileged people of wealth who were lucky enough to be able to shop at his overpriced men’s clothing store.

Bijan died of a stroke in 2011, and now we are forced to look at the face of his son relaying the same privileged message to the same privileged people.

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Meanwhile, sleeping underneath these billboards are the homeless people of Los Angeles who would be grateful for a coat or a bed or a meal.

June Meyers, Los Angeles

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