Value of values.
Recently, much attention has been paid to the topic of values. We look at it separately in public forums. And it’s a good trend. The motto word value and its derivatives (for example, valuable) point to something significant. Public figures often use terms such as ‘family values, ‘which this company is based on in their speeches, “Fundamental values of our society,” and the like. With such expressions, we seem to be constantly covered up. It seems that they contain something fundamental, something that lies at the very root of our human experience. But as appealing as the word may seem, it is not easy to determine through them what the term “value” means. While this ambiguity may suit, for example, politicians who use the word to provoke emotional reactions, it may be quite uncomfortable for the rest of us that such a vital factor as if lost its true content. One of the reasons for obscuring the concept of values is that this term is present in two areas of human existence. Is it the economic field and the sphere of human experience? Although it might seem that the moment of value is the same in both cases at a glance. However, a more in-depth analysis reveals that the perception of this concept is essential in these two areas’ differences, and these are critical to a correct understanding of values in the human realm.
Price and value
In economic terms, value is a simple quantity. Value is closely linked to “price,” and we are happy to have an exchange medium (money) that allows us to place any property or service on the universal scale of values. Value the relative price of any two items allows us to determine which is “more valuable” and see how diverse the values are. The market is working really well in our time. Its basis is that the price of a product is related to raw materials, design, production, and distribution spent on producing that product. Therefore, the product is intrinsically linked to the product itself, objectively measurable facts and factors, and not our personal assessment of the product. And in general, our behavior as consumers reflects this assertion. You would be willing to pay, say a million for a Ferrari; however, you wouldn’t pay so much for Škoda. And if they ask you why you would say that it is simply “not so good.” If you in a store, they found a TV with an 82-inch diagonal for 500 euros, you should be tempted to buy everything they have there.
When asked why you bought so many TVs when you need one, you would probably answer like this: “Because their true value it’s definitely at least tenfold. “And you probably would with the belief that you will be able to sell all those TVs to some eager customers for more than 500 euros. You know they would certainly immediately recognize the value of television. But as soon as we move on in our research, look at the consumer goods, the situation will change a bit. What, for example, determines the price of a work of art, say Van Gogh’s image? The price of canvas and paints cannot be higher than a few hundred euros. No matter how much we allocate to an artist’s work, we will certainly not come close to what this painting gets at auction. There may be less familiar paintings to me; the authors created even much longer than Van Gogh’s. However, they will not attract buyers for a fraction of the amount they are willing to pay these people for Van Gogh’s work. So, we got there to an area where price (or value) resulted from someone’s judgment. Individual artists can comply or cease to comply, and the prices of their works may rise or fall accordingly, without something would change in their works. Since the law of supply and demand determines prices, the value of a commodity is actually determined by how much it is valued or how popular it is – that is, the values become almost exclusively a subjective matter. Thus, they do not depend on the actual product on the intensity of the buyer’s desire for this product. Recordings became popular in the late 1980s, music on CD. Until then, LP records gradually lost value. Today, it has come so far that today these plates are sold for grandma, regardless of the cost of their production and recording on them. It was prevalent in the fifties and sixties, so-called hula hop. The hula-hoop is a plastic wheel with which the trainer rotates around his belt. To avoid falling, you need to twist your hips. At times, when these weirdos came on the market, they were costly. And they went on sale. But apart from the fact that they were behind them and that it was a kind of fashion, they were otherwise worthless. Their production price was a few euros.
Another example is a Rubik’s cube. About twenty years ago, she was smuggled in from us from abroad, and people were willing for her to pay large sums. Again, however: its real price was more or less symbolic. Prices depend on the ideas of buyers because economic value relating to beauty is a matter of taste. At the dog show, held in Milan, Italy, in March 1993, the German Shepherd Fan was awarded the “Golden Collar” prize. Many considered him the most beautiful German Shepherd of all time. His prize was a billion two hundred million Italian lire at the time, about three-quarters of a million US dollars.
We can examine the difference between Phantom and, let’s say, some neighbor Sally, which cost about 600 euros. Both are equally large, almost identical in color. They consume the same food, and they will both live for about ten years. Basically, there is no difference here, but some admirers and cytologists of the dog Fanta build at the level of 37 000 euros. And this is not just a matter of tricks or luxury things. Demand and, therefore, even the price jump in all consumption areas from home and apartments through the precious metals trade to simple things. Just remember, the enormous fluctuations in gold prices at the beginning of The 1980s make it clear that price stability is not guaranteed even for stably valuable goods (such as no doubt gold is). The desires and ideas of customers are changeable; they fly up and down like mercury in a thermometer.
It’s okay when it comes to the economic system. It can be but also to transfer to the realm of human values? Life offers us innumerable values to which it is not possible to attach price tags. For example, how much would you pay for a strong and united family? How much does a faithful husband cost? It’s like in one song, Beatles: Money can’t buy me, love – Love can’t buy me, love. Are all these values - human, religious, moral, and other similar values - based on similar subjective principles, personal desire, or taste, as in the market sphere? Many of you might say yes. Truth be told, the predominant factor of values in modern society is the economic model. Values are often considered only personal, private matter, creating individual or collective desires and farces. In this way, the values were reduced to an ordinary expression of personal emotion, such as a person subjectively prefers one color over another or prefers one sport before another.
Others argue that values must contain elements of stability and objectivity. This will then allow them to be judged as good or bad, deep or superficial, higher or lower. At its core, the question is whether some things in life are really better than others, or whether some things need to be pursued, even at the cost of great sacrifices, and others are not. If, in fact, everything is a throw-in, if there is no difference in value, let’s say between honesty and dishonesty, between war and peace, education and ignorance. It will not make sense to talk about values objectively. Regarding applying the economic model to human values in general, two problems need to be noted: the first is the radical subjectivity of the economic model that separates values from human existence. In the case of goods, the value fluctuates. However, separation is not possible here regarding human values closely linked to our human naturalness. Although running in the park or dieting can be fashionable, or vice versa, health will always be of high value to man.
The second difficulty stems from the temptation to place all values at the same level as if they were comparable. This process works in the economy because all consumer products can be translated into a standard scale using currency, i.e., money. However, in the case of human values, this mechanism is not can be applied. The value of sincerity cannot be weighed, for example, by a good lunch. Both sincerity and food are values, but each of them stands on a different level.
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