• Posted: Aug 31, 2008 02:39:24
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Economists find fascination in the notion of value. In a perfect world, the monetary value of things are assigned rationally within market transactions based on scarcity, need imperatives, and the condition and utility of the commodities in question. But we do not live in a perfect world. Distortions of value are commonplace. Fear of scarcity based upon rumor can raise prices when in fact there is no scarcity. Prices will rise if colluding suppliers collaborate to create false scarcity. Traders may falsify information regarding the availability of supplies. Advertisers inflate claims of utility and condition. Consumers balloon price with efforts to be "firstest with the mostest". We do not live in a perfect world when it comes to assigning monetary value to things and most of us suffer greatly because of it.
There is no cure for human greed, selfishness, and deception. Open, transparent, and minimally regulated markets may in fact yield the best outcomes we can hope to achieve. But then again, maybe there just aren't enough markets.
Recent discussions of world markets have largely focused on visible markets. Within such markets world trade appears to be choking, grinding to a halt as nearly every commodity becomes bound up with price movement in every other commodity in every other market. And the situation is exacerbated as single buyers and producers, such as Wal-Mart or ExxonMobil, become so dominant they can literally set prices for every other buyer and producer.
The anonymity and opacity of processes underlying markets dominated by such economic giants is potentially the problem. Buyers cannot look into the eyes of producers to see and appreciate the care and pain they expend creating the commodities they sell. And producers cannot look into the eyes of buyers to see and appreciate the depth of need and height of hope the commodity in question may provide. Honesty in such face to face transactions might not prove any more prevalent than within larger markets, but such small markets would likely not be as bound up with the churnings of larger markets. And on average, if world media focus were to be shifted to such less visible markets, value as measured by price might prove less susceptible to distortion.
May honest effort always be justly included within measurements of value.
Friday, August 22nd, 2008
7.4 mm 35 mm