Marginal Utility

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?

Be Brave and Be Kind

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