Money and Materialism

How we secretly desire the things we profess not to need.

Aaron Mayer
4 min readJul 5, 2020

It’s not fashionable these days to be outwardly materialistic.

Over the last decade, we’ve been inundated with anti-materialist messages of inner worth. We’ve been told that living simply is living richly.

Marie Kondo swept the world with minimalism, CEOs wear jeans and tee shirts, and our eco-conscious generation is much more mindful of excess.

The practice of conspicuous consumption, which is when people spend lavishly on material goods to flaunt their wealth, is now backfiring.

“You bought a Lamborghini? Hmm, I guess you couldn’t find anything better to do with your money?”

Not sending the intended message…

But even if we’re satisfied by our humble apartments with their minimalist decor, and even if we lambaste the rich for their extravagances, and even if we profess to believe in the maxim that money can’t buy happiness…

We all wish our bank accounts would magically double.

Why is that? Why, in a world where money and material wealth are ostensibly meaning less do we still yearn to be rich?

I asked people how wealthy they would want to be in an ideal world, and I heard creative answers.