At a certain point, another million dollars doesn’t make anything newly affordable. That’s when other motivations take over.
The whole experience did not leave Shteyngart feeling good. Here were people who could purchase anything they could ever want and whose wealth was widely envied, and even they weren’t content—just as these researchers studying happiness and wealth might have predicted. “At the end of the day,” Shteyngart told me, “I was just happy to end this research, because it was quite depressing.”