In the book, Are You Normal About Money?, author Bernice Kanner outlines responses from a public survey posted on the Bloomberg Web site. According to respondents, sixty-five percent would live on a deserted island for a year for $1 million dollars. Sixty percent would even admit to a crime that didn't do and serve six months in jail for that amount--and 10 percent would lend their spouse for a night. For $10 million, most of us would do just about anything: one-fourth would abandon our friends, our family, and our church. And for that amount of money, 7 percent--one in every fourteen of us--would even murder.
Part of the problem with money is that people want more. Thanks to fifty plus years of mass media pushing merchandise at us, we are convinced that more will make us happier. For decades, Lewis Lapham has been asking people how much money they would need to be happy. "No matter what their income," he reports, "a depressing number of Americans believe that if only they had twice as much, they would inherit the estate of happiness promised them in the Declaration of Independence. The man who receives $15,000 a year is sure that he could relieve his sorrow if he had only $30,000 a year; the man with $1 million a year knows that all would be well if he had $2 million a year"..."Nobody," he concludes, "ever has enough."