Money itself holds little value, it is merely a means of exchange. But for a great number of people projection of the emotional psychological value of money far exceeds its relative economic value. (p. 5)Wernimont and Fitzpatrick (1972) offered a more interesting perspective that is more relevant to the subject at hand. They stated that people attach a variety of meanings to money including failure and social acceptability and that these symbolic meanings differ among different occupational groups. Perhaps this is so because money can purchase various things including power, security, freedom and even love and personal satisfaction.Today, technological advances, among other contemporary factors, changed the nature of money and the monetary transactions as a distinct economic behavior. An offshoot of this is what Drenth et al. (2001) called as the ongoing process of economic socialization wherein people acquire economic values that are more or less commonly shared ideas about what is generally right and wrong in the economic realm. (p. 269) This brings us to the phenomenon we now call as materialism or the concept of conspicuous consumption. Here, economic values relate to a person’s individual ideas with respect to the distribution of wealth and to one’s own absolute and relative position in that distribution. To the extent that stable individual differences exist with regard to the adoption of these values, we may even speak of economic personality variables. Examples are greed, thrift, altruism, solidarity, the need for economic achievement. (p. 269)The money-dimension to the many social and psychological problems offer psychologists invaluable insights particularly in addressing issues in regard to happiness, urban living and the stress and depressions that come with social ills like poverty, income inequality, and welfare problems.
The Significance That Economic Ideas May Have to Psychology