Posts Tagged ‘value’

Originally posted to Facebook Notes

I, like many others, have become disenchanted by the constant tit-for-tat between the two dominant governing parties in this country. (Republicans and Democrats) Many people, including myself, have described them as being more alike than different and for good reason.

Some point to lack of accountability or sense of entitlement as the problem on the republican side while others say it’s unabated greed and mass exploitation on the liberal side. With both arguments having at least some basis in fact, where then lies the problem?

It seems what is lacking the most is a simple sense of value. Not speaking of personal “values’ (morals and ethics) in this case, but an actual understand of the basic principle of what something is worth – whether it be a thing, an act or even a thought or idea.

All of the above ‘reasons’ fall under an umbrella that extends as a result of this lack of understanding; the unaccountable don’t offer value in exchange for the things they do or in return for problems they cause, the entitled don’t expend value in exchange for what they expect, the excessively greedy do not provide value equal to how they profit; the exploiter does not ‘make amends’ to to those they manipulate.

Previous generations instilled a sense of value in their children. The value of a good days work for a good days pay. The value of paying for goods and services you receive. The value of working long and hard and earning an eventual reward. The value of being truthful, ‘earning’ trust, and gaining respect. The value in being polite and of helping others.

Value is the basis for a market economy and a capitalist system. The exchange of value the method. And when it comes to instilling the value, that system is it’s own worse enemy. The modern age of marketing targets those that ‘have’ so they can ‘get’ profit from them. Those that do not have, are left feeling they should rather than understanding the need to earn the privilege.
Everything is sales, and discounts and rewards and rebates – save save save! Instant, now,or at least overnight, no assembly required, no waiting necessary! Everywhere you look the market is undermining it’s own method by eroding the simple notion of ‘value’.
The modern entertainment media portrays as heroes those that get with seemingly little effort. Stories that used to reflect the man who worked hard and made something of himself are gone, replaced by the instant star-of-the-moment on American Idol, America’s Funniest Home Videos or any number of ‘reality TV’ shows.

If you want to change our world and restore our system, start there. Re-learn ‘value’! Expect it, offer it, and teach it to others; Value in things, value in people, value in your relations to them and yes, even value in your acts of charity!

See also, my prior notes posting: The Nature of Value

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Originally posted on Facebook Notes

A lot of the topics I discuss hinge on the principle of ‘value’. A topic that seems simple enough but that requires further clarification because ‘value’ is a very subjective concept.
Since I am often speaking about – or at least from – an objectivist standpoint, value plays a very important role in that one of the key tenets of Objectivist philosophy is that any interactions between men, to be ethical and moral, must involve an equal exchange of value. So what is value and how do we define it – especially in the case of these interactions? In this case, the value is relative to each person involved in the exchange – i.e. they must mutually agree that what they are giving and what they are receiving in such an exchange is a worthy exchange of value.

To demonstrate this fact I often use an analogy, interchanging the nature of the allegory to suit the circumstances and to better suit the audience. The most basic form is essentially as follows:

Imagine that at some point in your life, someone you care about and have great admiration and respect for offers you a gift. Perhaps you are seeking your first job or leaving home for the first time, and this person you admire – for example your grandfather – hands you a copper penny. You ask them “what is this for?” and they tell you that when they were first going out on their own, their grandfather handed them a penny as a gesture to get them started. They explain to you that they carry that penny with them always and even go so far as to pull out their wallet to show it to you and you see the tell-tale circle worn into the outside of the leather to back up the claim that he always had it with him.
You too carry this penny with you until you find that first job and continue to carry it with you always as a reminder of your grandfather’s gesture to teach you a lesson or show you support when you got started.
How much then is that penny worth? To everyone else it is worth $0.01 but to you it may be something with a sentimental attachment that you would not give up for all the money in the world.

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