A lot of people think that the reason we originally invented money was to have a more efficient way to get stuff than just trading it with each other.
Nowadays, historians and economists say that's not necessarily
, but it's still a big part of the way we think about money.
Then again, a lot of people seem to like knowing they've got a lot of money in the bank – not necessarily to buy more stuff, but just to have. I thought I'd walk around my hometown of Athens and ask a few people: Would you rather have more money, or more stuff?
Labrini, a boutique owner
"I would choose more money – but not to buy stuff. To invest, mostly in education, and travelling. At the end of the day, money doesn’t bring happiness."
Emily, manager at a wine bar
"I would prefer to have enough money to be independent and to live with dignity. I’d also like to start a business of my own. I’m not that interested in fancy things like cars or big houses. In a society based on consumption, it’s sometimes easy to lose the true meaning of life."
"I would prefer to have the amount of money I need to buy the basics for myself, rather than saving. These are hard times, and it’s hard to save – it’s even hard to buy the basics for someone else. I believe people should start to reconsider what things they really want and need for themselves in line with the money they earn. That would help a lot of people be a lot happier with themselves at the end of the day."
"Sometimes, there are things that are worth much more than money! Like helping someone who needs your help. So what I want more of is the time...and maybe some more money, so I could provide food and a home for some animals. Too much stuff becomes stuff you don’t need but others do!"
Helen, manager at a fruit bar
"I would prefer to invest in traveling around the world than in buying more stuff, like a house, or a luxury car. I believe travelling is one of the best ways to spend your money! Doing trips is like investing in yourself. And that’s what I intend to do."
"To be honest, I’d prefer neither money nor stuff. I’d like enough money to buy a farm close to nature, where I could grow vegetables, plant my own trees, keep a small farm of animals, and be totally self-sufficient and independent."
"I’ve been out of work five years now...and it’s been a struggle. There’s no man on this earth that doesn’t want money. What I need right now is a job, so I can earn some money, and invest in buying a house for my family."
George, media producer
"The only thing I’d like to have more of is time. I know some may say time isn’t ‘stuff’, but it’s the only thing for me."