Sunday, May 14, 2006
Stop dating! Just buy a playstation 3.
"Economists suggest lasting marriage produces as much happiness as an extra $100,000 a year in salary. This might sound like a strong case for getting hitched. But many economists have shown that happiness is expensive—$100,000 will buy you only a small amount of joy. Studies like these also hide individual variation. Marriage isn't worth $100,000 to just anybody. A recent German study found that matrimony's hedonic gains go disproportionately to couples who have similar education levels but a wide income gap. Worse yet, on average, people adapt very quickly and completely to marriage. As anyone who's ever consumed seven pumpkin pies in one sitting knows, we quickly get used to our favorite new things, and we just as quickly tire of them. As Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert artfully puts it, "Psychologists call this habituation, economists call it declining marginal utility, and the rest of us call it marriage."
"We submit that a relationship with a PlayStation 3 is worth at least $100,000 a year in happiness for all individuals. Unlike a nagging spouse, the PS3 doesn't care about your income or your level of education—it loves you just the way you are. It is true that you will eventually become accustomed to your sleek new PS3, but this will take an extremely long time. The PS3, after all, has been built expressly to keep mind-blowing novelty coming and coming and coming. Periodic infusions of novelty—new games—will keep the endorphins flowing."
The authors continue to explain how buying a playstation is one of the most rationale $500 investments that one could make.
While I find the author's comparison interesting, I don't necassarily agree that its fair to compare feelings of love to the mild amusement generated by a playstation...though Im sure many at Harvard have tried. Still, I know that my $149 investment in my PS2 has had immense returns.
Update from Bryce -- This may be the best post on this blog so far. Awesome. Just awesome.
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