Chapter Six of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Utility explores the role that income plays in dignity but also about the broader relationship between economic development and dignity. Over the long term, for example, measures of civil and political rights have gone up on average worldwide. So has income. This has led some to suggest a link between the two. But you don't need high incomes to preserve rights:
...many writers throughout history have believed that greatly increased incomes were not required in order to ensure the dignity of choice for peoples. During the English Civil War, when incomes per capita averaged only a little above $1,000, Lilburn called for a republic with universal suffrage and equality before the law. John Stuart Mill called for a full range of liberties including women’s equality, and was building on Mary [Wollstonecraft’s] Vindication of the Rights of Women written in the previous century. Outside of Europe, Akhbar, the Mughal emperor in power at the turn of the Sixteenth century, issued edicts codifying rights including religious freedom from his capital at Agra. Gandhi felt that India was quite capable of guaranteeing a full range of rights at a point when India’s GDP per capita was around $600. More recently, a number of developing countries have developed and preserved systems that guarantee widespread civil rights at low levels of average income including Costa Rica, Botswana, South Africa and India itself.
Perhaps because of this, the link between growth in rights and growth in incomes is statistically insignificant, with the causal link from measures of democracy to measures of economic growth turning out to be stronger. Institutional development which leads to stable democracies that protect rights appears to be a long-term process, perhaps linked in part to colonial histories. Similar findings pertain to education --when the process of expanding education began is a key determinant of current rollout levels, it is possible to roll out universal access to basic education at very low levels of income, rapid income growth does not appear to speed this process and, if anything, education is more strongly linked to economic performance than vice-verca.
Regarding the quality of jobs, Adam Smith was worried that industrialization would significantly reduce it. "The man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations… generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become," he warned. With the application of assembly-line techniques in services as well as manufacturing, many of today's jobs are simple and highly repetitive. And the new economy has done little to banish mind-numbing employment, or reduce unemployment.
Finally, looking at the role of income itself as a status measure, efforts to control its impact date back at least as far as sumptuary laws, and the primacy of status over welfare concerns in the chase for money was noted (once again) by Adam Smith, who noted that the pursuit of riches was primarily driven by “regard to the sentiment of mankind… to be observed, to be attended to, to be taken notice of..." Given income is a status good, it is unsurprising that definitions of an 'inadequate income' rise in lock-step with average incomes in a community. As such, in all but the poorest countries, our concern with poverty should center around questions of income distribution, not absolute levels of income.