What Money Can’t Buy

A canvas featuring Hornet staff members in 2008
State Hornet Newsroom 2008 on canvas, as seen in the current State Hornet Newsroom in Del Norte Hall. Illustration by Paul Rios. Courtesy of Holly Heyser.

In a world where everything has a price tag, there are still some things money just can’t buy. Like coming home.

The idea that money can’t buy happiness is pretty absurd on its face, and was likely not invented by a poor person. A June survey found that 64 percent of Americans are now living paycheck-to-paycheck. I bet money could buy some happiness for most of them.

“Maybe money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy a jetski” comedian Daniel Tosh once said. “And have you ever seen somebody unhappy on a jetski?”

The old cliché doesn’t really mean you can’t purchase happiness; it just means money alone won’t bring you fulfillment.

(But money could bring me to Fiji, and I think I would be pretty fulfilled by a nice long trip there!)

In the era of late-stage capitalism, it’s hard to say “money can’t buy happiness” with a straight face. I don’t think we need to trash the whole idiom, we simply need a little tweak. It’s not that money can’t buy happiness; there are just some things money can’t buy.

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