Who Needs Friends When You Have Money

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Captured by cash. Steve Wampler hide caption

itoggle caption Steve Wampler

Key to happiness, maybe not. But money appears to be useful for more than just gas (or contributing to your public radio station). New Scientist reports:

Simply thinking about words associated with money seems to makes us more self-reliant and less inclined to help others. And it gets weirder: just handling cash can take the sting out of social rejection and even diminish physical pain.... Put bluntly, it looks as if money is acting as a surrogate friend. Could that explain why some people focus on extrinsic aspirations at the expense of real social relationships?

The question they eventually get to: can money be addictive? No definitive answers are given, rather an argument that economists' models can't be taken seriously unless they figure in people's sometimes irrational desire for money.

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