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April 05, 2008

Comments

I know this topic was hashed to death earlier, but I think you have too narrow a view of "value." You appear to be thinking in terms of practical utility, i.e., contributes to the basic needs for food, shelter, protection, medical care, future economic growth. But this ignores the enormous amount of economic activity these days (at least in the West) that is inherently consumption and entertainment oriented.

To give an example, how is paying Bill Clinton $100,000 to give a speech because one enjoys meeting and listening to him (as unfathomable as that may be to you and me) any different than paying $100,000 for a piece of art to hang on your wall? Is the artist who produces a piece of art engaging in "value transference"? Or a musician who gives a concert? Or, to return to Bill Clinton, an orator who gives a speech? What if the speech is motivational and/or technical in nature? Does it then become "value creation"?

I don't think your two categories are very helpful ways of characterizing the "value" of different forms of economic activity.

how is paying Bill Clinton $100,000 to give a speech because one enjoys meeting and listening to him

Some of this might just be people buying status, but I think a lot of the people who paid these 'speaking fees' were hoping to buy access in a future Clinton administration. It's looking like those folks wasted their money.

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