Oh yes it can. Consider: if I had all the money I needed, these are the things I would do this year:
  • Go back home to see my family and friends.
  • Soak up the sun in Polynesia.
  • Eat well.
  • Have friends over for lavish dinners at my house.
  • Put away money for my parents' and in-laws' retirement.
  • Give more to charity.
  • Buy books.
  • Get a home of my own.
And this is just a preliminary list, off the top of my head. You might notice how it doesn't contain SUVs, unnecessary gadgets or branded lifestyle products - just the basic necessities of life, plus a few small extras for the soul.

When you're so poor that you don't know where your next rent payment or your next packet of cigarettes are coming from, money buys everything - health, comfort, confidence and, yes, happiness.

I have nothing against the anti-consumerist angle TBBK is coming from. I shop Fair Trade, I avoid Nike and Gap, McDonalds and Wal-Mart and all that. But there is such a thing as going too far in the other direction, you know. Money is not unimportant - it is the indicator of one's labour and talent, and, although this is often misused to create bogus social distinctions, it is not a trivial phenomenon. Now that we don't grow or kill our food anymore, money is our sustenance. It's not inherently dirty or wrong, and you do need at least some of it to be happy.