The marginal utility of Jeni's Ice Cream
I absolutely LOVE Jeni’s Ice Cream.
Sometimes, on the way home from work, I’ll stop at the grocery store, buy a pint, and eat it.
That’s right. The whole thing.
Yes, I know. That’s a LOT of ice cream.
I’ve noticed that a very interesting thing happens when I do this:
Bite 1: Best thing in the world, ever.
Bites 2-10: Really good.
Bites 11-15: Good.
Bites 16-20: Meh.
Bites 21+: Okay, now I’m sick.
I learned this lesson the first time I ate a pint of Jeni’s in a single sitting.
And yet, for some reason, I still occasionally repeat the experiment.
Of course, this phenomenon doesn’t only occur with ice cream. This is a well-documented economic principle called Marginal Utility, and (you guessed it) it applies to money, too.
Just like ice cream, beyond a certain point, having more money will not lead to more security, freedom, and happiness.
The academic literature on that is clear.
My question is: Why do we devote so much of our time, energy, and attention to having more?
Wouldn’t we maybe be better off if, instead, we focused on having enough?