It appears that the study conducted by New Economics Foundation (NEF) that says there is nothing natural or inevitable about what’s considered a “normal” 40-hour work week today is accurate. In its wake, many people are caught in a vicious cycle of work and consumption. They live to work, work to earn, and earn to consume things. Missing from that equation is an important fact that researchers have discovered about most material consumption in wealthy societies: so much of the pleasure and satisfaction we gain from buying is temporary, ephemeral, and mostly just relative to those around us (who strive to consume still more, in a self-perpetuating spiral). Another study shows that working overtime is life threatening.