“You can’t put a value on human life.”
I’m sorry, but yes, you can. If it is your life or the life of a family member then it may be ‘everything I have’ but if you are an administrator of a health budget then you must optimise the use of a finite resource according to some algorithm. Or you could pick the people you like the look of, or who agreed with your religious beliefs or politics. In the UK, they would generally not prove popular options. That isn’t the way we do things around here. Maggie Thatcher was wrong. We are a society and our society, on average, has loosely agreed on some ‘values’. We are willing to pay more for things and people and beliefs that we value . We value our values. We say “I love you and I will do anything for you, for ever” but we won’t really. We have limits. There is an upper limit on our investment, for our own protection.
That isn’t money though, is it? That’s love and some people appear to have bottomless reserves. Do they, or are they simply measuring their relative values in a different way? We all have different ideas of the value of things or commerce would be impossible. Trades only happen when there is a differential between the values of the people on either side of the trade. Our individual valuations change over time too. I won’t pay for your bottled water because I have perfectly good tap water available, but try offering me a tiny bottle for 5 Euros in a hot airport when my plane is 3 hours late. Think of bartering in a market too – finding the tipping point betwee holding on and letting go.
Money doesn’t really exist. It is a metric of relative value. Our chosen currency itself has a relative value against other currencies. There is a market in values and we have to agree our price.
“I’m not eating that!”
“I’ll give you £10… £50!”
Decide what you value and where you are willing to fold. “We do not negotiate with terrorists” is an opening bid, as Western-style market-capitalist democracies try to negotiate a new value system we can agree with the rest of the world. We may need to consider if any of our beliefs need to be re-evaluated in the new world market.
When I woke up this morning, I believed there were two different meanings of the word “value”; one about morals, one about money but I’ve realised that whether I want world peace or a new sports car, value is the measure of our personal desire for a particular future projection of the world to be true, relative to a network of the desires of every other living creature. Markets are the human race, balancing our collective desires. They aren’t going to go away.
2 thoughts on “Values Market”
Nice comments, Andy. I learned a lot about “value” from this book, too:
That looks interesting but I can’t see how any trade could be done without barter, in the absence of money, unless every family was completely self-sufficient most of the time and loans were made and repaid in kind, every time. “Sorry, my corn has failed again this year but I have lots of chickens. Will you accept 5 for that bucket of grain I’ve owed you for 6 years?”
No bartering would prevent skilled specialists developing, or any trade with visitors bearing items that a group was unable to reproduce.
I wrote a video script on the subject of chicken trading to explain Bitcoin. I hope I didn’t mislead anyone.