Sunday, February 24, 2008


This concept has been bothering me for a while--I'd like to know what you who read this think.

A lot of value has been placed on material goods--things we're used to having to pay for [like cheese, furniture, and marble countertops]--
while many services have a fee associated with them [electricity, massage, dentistry, and taxi rides]--
In practice, once someone decides to start charging for something, it's value is determined by the invisible hand of economics--supply and demand.

However, there are a lot of things we haven't placed a monetary value on that are very worthwhile [like the air we breathe, social cohesiveness, the value of free speech, etc.]
and I'm wondering if we should assign a value # to them, in order to give these topics fair measure against economically valued items. I mean, if someone intends to extinguish a species, I want to know what it's worth to them.

I have yet to see some other discussion about this, so let's have it out here...
Off-limits topicEconomic vested interest
Breath of fresh air$1.00
Peace and quiet$5.00
First amendment right to free speech$25
Snake River salmon migration route$100
Free internet$1000
A kiss from my sweetie$10,000 (if they brushed their teeth)

Of course these are made up numbers. To get a real idea of the values to assign things, a token economy would need to be set up and lots of trading done.

But that's the basic notion. What do you think?

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