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Kathleen D. Vohs, Roy F. Baumeister «What’s the use of happiness? It can’t buy you money»

What’s the use of happiness? It can’t buy you money

Journal of Consumer Psychology 21 (2011) 139–141

Kathleen D. Vohs, Roy F. Baumeister

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The target article by Dunn, Wilson, and Gilbert offers solutions to the puzzle of why money does not bring happiness. We question the assumption that money is for being happy. Our position, gleaned from our research, is that money is a fungible facilitator of unfettered goal pursuit. Additionally, money can take away some of the pain of life. People who have been reminded of money, versus those who have not, work longer and harder to reach personal goals, resist offers of help, take on more work than is necessary, and react against potential threats to their autonomy. In addition, people reminded of money are not bothered by physical pain nor social ostracism. Therefore, money is not a happiness-giver. Rather money is a resource that does supremely well what most resources do to various degrees: It enables its owner to solve problems and avert suffering.

“What’s the use of happiness? It can’t buy you money.”

Henry (Henny) Youngman (1998)

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