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Money buys social status, for better and worse

Some fans of rationalizing and deduction logic argue that money, in fact, does buy happiness. Other more poetic souls believe happiness is a concept too elusive to pin down or simply purchase. Surely, you can’t buy happiness the way you buy your favorite chocolate bars. However, neither does being broke make you walk on sunshine, unless maybe you spent your last money on heroin. Scientists have found that money does buy you something though. More importantly, the transaction creates a high, very similar to the ones drugs induce in our brains.

Where we ride that momentum to is what makes all the difference to our relationship with money and the world.

Money buys social status

A research from Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, led other colleagues on a quest to capture money’ worth. The paper focuses on money’s connection to employees’ morale, performance and self-esteem, but in the process, it puts a grander, and otherwise ridiculous phenomenon, into perspective.

The study discovered that money’s role goes far beyond mere pragmatism and exchange. Money is more of a barometer of one’s success and value, and earned money – worth far more than a windfall.

“The money in that case is a signal of competence and worth, and that makes it addictive, because the more you have, the more you want,” Pfeffer says.

Money may not exactly buy happiness, but for many, it buys social status and feeling of self-worth. And just like people use drugs as a replacement for happiness, money’s allure isn’t without strings attached.

Money addiction might be the ugliest form of dependence

Celebrities’ ridiculous behavior is starting to make more sense, which doesn’t go to say it becomes more acceptable.  Celebrities selling their “principles” for a paycheck they will hardly ever spend. Britney Spears feeding her dog with 180-dollar steaks, others putting diamonds on their pets’ collars. Floyd “Money” Mayweather mocking Conor McGregor for being an 8-figure fighter. At least that was part of ceremonial trash talk that is practically as important as is the actual fight. Nevertheless, as his nickname and flashy lifestyle suggest, modesty isn’t his strong suit.

The examples of celebrities going to ridiculous lengths in the pursuit of money are as countless as are their riches. More importantly, how they use money is what turns their drive into the ugliest form of addiction there is.

Spending your hard-earned money is undeniably one of life’s purest and most well-deserved forms of joy. When your work is part of your identity, a paycheck has even more sentimental value, rightfully so.

However, perhaps if celebrities derived a feeling of social superiority from putting their fortunes to other use besides showing off their flashy toys like spoiled little kids, the world would be a much different place.