What good are facts? The “drug” value of money as an exemplar of all non-instrumental value
An emotional value for money is clearly demonstrable beyond its value for getting goods, but this value need not be ascribed to human preparedness for altruism or play. Emotion is a motivated process, and our temptation to “overgraze” positive emotions selects for emotional patterns that are paced by adequately rare occasions. As a much-competed-for tool, money makes an excellent occasion for emotional reward – a prize with value beyond its tool value – but this is true also of the other facts by which we pace our emotions.
(Published Online April 5 2006)