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October 23, 2019 / Congau

Real Illusion Value

Nothing has any value except what we value. There’s no real worth in anything other than what people want. Money is the perfect measure of how much we collectively esteem things and it can never be wrong: If it’s expensive, it’s valuable.

Value can be created by creating. An item can be produced that people simply want. It didn’t exist until it was made and when it came into being it increased the total wealth of the world; a true creation, that is.

But then value can also come about without any real increase of anything. Since the measure is in us and not in the things themselves, the worth of the thing can change without any real change having taken place. This is the magic of advertising. We don’t know what we want until we are told, but once we know, it is as if something new has been created.

Thus if we were only sufficiently illusional there could conceivably be a society of immense wealth where nothing existed for real. Of course it doesn’t quite work like that since the bubble usually breaks long before it reaches that point, but the fact remains that a great deal of the existing riches at any time are based on illusions. Things become valuable because they are valued, and valued because they are wanted, and wanted by some because they are wanted by others.

Actually, in economic terms it makes no sense to speak about illusion because anything that is in demand is as real as anything else. If people want trash masquerading as art, that is as objectively valuable as gold or nutritious food.

There is no such thing as a real value; whatever is wanted is valuable. However, it is possible to question if our wants are real. We may be illusional about ourselves.

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