The standard of living is different from the cost of living.
As a rule of thumb, they are inversely related: the higher the cost of living, the lower is the standard - all other things being equal, especially the level of income.
The problem is this: the higher the income, the higher are the prices. There are many factors involved. The quality of the goods and services consumed are generally higher, because you get to pay more for it. The place you eat is air-conditioned, the waitresses are pretty and well-costumed, the table cloth is nicer looking, the plates are gold-rimmed. If in general, you get what you pay for, higher prices would therefore means higher quality and hence a higher standard of the things you consume. That is, you have that level of income to pay for it.
But higher income also means that you really do have to work so much harder for it. You may get the same wage rate per hour but if you work very long hours, and you have a bit of profit share thrown in, then you could have a very income at the end of the year - compared to your friends who are having a good fun in the village socialising all day long.
The pursuit of wealth is a human flaw driven by a sense of uncertainty of the future, as if wealth can bring reassurance that our future is good when we suffer (work hard) to acquire it, eschewing all normal commual relationships, except those that deal with money. There is certainly a cost in the pursuit of high income, and it is often in human values, wholesomeness of being, peace of mind, calmness of nerves, and, if I may add, health as in gums and teeth and lungs and liver.
The world of high income is an artificial world, in the sense that it is a world that is disconnected with the natural reality - deliberately. It is a Matrix created where the pumping in of money, in whatever form, is meant to stimulate the residents inside, and they all run here and there full of activities and anxiety, and that high level of activity, to economists, is measured as GDP. The money pumped which then flooded everybody and everywhere is income. The valuation of piles of bricks and mortar is the value of real estate.
But in far flung places like Sarawak or Saipan, where man-made structures are few and far in between, man lives with nature in a spiritual connection in that there is fear and hence respect for the unknown, where human restraint and humbleness is the proper behaviour in life, each living on the barest minimal of materials which sustaining himself in high spirits, there is that sense of oneness with nature, a sense of being alive. The money income is low, the rate of consumption is low, but the rate of saving of the natural environment is huge, through abstinence.
The World Bank tries to measure the standard of living through the instrument of PPP - Purchasing Power Parity - by adjusting money with prices and other things (since a house is a house is a house, now matter how much it costs). There are debates.
For me, it is futile business to try to compare judgements and values. The highest standard of living lies in your preferred way of life, if you are already pursuing it. All other ways of life is therefore sub-optimal, and your goal is to go from sub-optimal to optimal.
My favourite quip is that most of us live only half a life - only the good life. But life is both good and bad which we should both if we want to live a full life. That's why artists live on the fringe and swing between jubilation and depression.