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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Value: Economics or Meaning

This is a thought which I have had recently. It is one that is still in development and so a little shy on concrete principles or proof. At some point in human history we started to see each other, and by extension ourselves, as commodities. Our value and worth became coached in economic terms. A person's worth became tied to their economic potential. Success became gaged by ownership of possessions and their economic value. When did that shift occur? Or was it even a shift or just a natural extension of the industrial revolution's effects on human society? Certainly having the ability to provide both support and safety have been long sought after skills by both men and women. But wasn't that skill honed within a community all trying to advance the good of all for the advancement for the good of the individual?

I think perhaps the difference now is that the good of the individual overrides the good of the community. I will run the best and cheapest business in order to outsell and undercut my competitors and drive them out of business so that I will succeed. This last statement is all about the individual's ability to provide by out-performing. They are not bringing value and worth to the community, only cheapening the business class. Not that healthy competition is bad, it just needs to be balanced with a little community mindedness. Why do I need to open a new store if two already exist in the community that sell the same thing, just to try to drive them out of the market and show how "good" I am at business? Where is the value in that?

At this point perhaps I need to let the original thought simmer for a bit longer before I ramble on and on and turn it into a muddled mess. I guess the question (or thought) is why do we let economics dictate our worth and value, and not some other aspect of life?

3 comments:

Daav said...

Well said...
In your last line are you saying that we need to make sure economics dictates another part of our life besides worth & value? Or are you saying that we need to allow other avenues to dictate our worth and value?

Anonymous said...

Well said...
In your last line are you saying that we need to make sure economics dictates another part of our life besides worth & value? Or are you saying that we need to allow other avenues to dictate our worth and value?

Daav said...

Economics will always play a part in life. But it does not have to be the defining characteristic of life. If we allowed other things to take that central role then perhaps life would develop along more meaningful and less destructive lines. If we defined self worth in terms of community service instead of by the money we made, the house and possessions we owned, then I believe that we would have civic minded people building strong communities. Another example could be cultural contributions: music, art, theater, movies, literature, poetry, sports, etc (anything that builds a sense of culture), those who contribute culturally to a community are cherished and valued then the culture becomes stronger and the community becomes stronger.
Making money and even being an individual has its place, but when they are put above everything else then you end up with a society where each person is out for their own good, using others to get ahead and only concerned with the status of wealth. I believe that the end result is a fragmented society that is destructive and abusive in it's power.