I think that this depends on how one interprets the phrase “living standards.” Does one interpret the phrase as amount of money or quality of life? I think many would have a better quality of life with less money. For example, having a garden to offset food prices often means cleaner, less chemically treated, more reliable food. Can’t afford cable TV or expensive video games? Perhaps the family spends more time together engaged in different sorts of activities. Can’t afford drive through and take out? Maybe that translates to healthier meals prepared at home, maybe even prepared together. Too much money can often serve as a distraction from the important things, from better things, from things that are healthier for the mind and the body. Too much time spent pursuing that too much money can result in fractured, distant relationships with children and spouse. It can result in tunnel vision and susceptibility to sound-bite influenced, knee-jerk opinions. It can result in illegal wars in foreign nations because nobody ever takes the time to think or care or demand a halt to the insanity. Less money has meant better living for me, and I suspect that it can for many of us.