To become succesful in society what is more important to children's development: comfortable living conditions or an enriching intellectual environment?
poor conditions such as hunger, poverty, lack of basic necessities
enriching intellectual development that involves discussions of geology, math literature, and art
This is, of course, a matter of opinion in many ways. I would, however, argue that an enricihing intellectual environment is far and away more important to a child's development than comfortable living conditions are. Of course, this depends on what we mean by "comfortable."
Maslow tells us, of course, that a child's physiological needs must be met in order for the child to develop. However, there is (to me) a difference between having one's needs met and having "comfortable living conditions." So long as a child has the basic necessities of life, an enriching intellectual environment becomes more important.
If the choice is between growing up poor (but not hungry) in an intellectually stimulating household or rich in a household devoid of books and conversation, then I would argue that the former is much better for a child's development.
I think you need to define "comfortable living conditions" and "enriching intellectual environment". I believe the can be too vaguely interpretted.