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Author Topic: Is there such a thing as absolute value?  (Read 7273 times)
hugolp
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June 13, 2011, 06:09:31 PM
 #21

In reality, what do you mean by food having absolute value?

The car has only temporary value because the farmer's daughter is sick. But when she gets better, the car becomes useless if the farmer's family doesn't need to travel or they are happy with horse carts or walking.

Food has only temporary value as well. I just showed you that at some point food was less valued than a car. That is exactly the point, value is subjective: It depends on the needs and wants of a person, its not absolute.

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However, they will always need their harvest or other sources of food to stay alive. The need is constant as long as someone in the family is alive. Hence it is always worth a certain portion of their income that they are willing to part with (be it 2%, 5% or like in many poor countries, over 50% of their income will go into food)

This does not contradict at all that value is subjective.

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Unless material replicators or other sources of synthetic food are invented, food will always be a commodity that has infinite demand (as opposed to other commodities which only have limited, increasing or diminishing demand, such as certain consumer goods) but only a limited supply.

You could argue Bitcoin and gold are limited in supply as well, which is true, but they do not have infinite demand over time (infinite meaning as long as humans are alive), at least yet. They are not essential to the vast majority of people.

I agree. This does not contradict that value is subjective.

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Therefore a thing of absolute value must be something that has a worth for everyone.

You are defining absolute as subjetively valuable for all humans. Absolute value means that it does not depend on the subjective valuation of anyone. Yet, you keep repeating that food is valuable because people need it. That means subjectively valued by people.
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June 13, 2011, 06:20:41 PM
 #22

I donno... we might be able to create a unit of ... I won't say value, maybe worth would be a better word, defined as the chemicals required to keep one human alive for 1 day. This would be constant, at so many pounds of O2, so many mL of Water, and various amounts of macro and micro nutrients.

As previously stated, though, once we had this constant, everything else would then shift in relation to it.

Sounds too anthropocentric for my taste.


And besides, would expect the physical requirements for keeping one alive would vary significantly from individual to individual, and external factors such as average daily temperature, amount of daily sunlight, oxygen percentage in the air etc would also shift those values around quite a bit...

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June 13, 2011, 06:52:07 PM
 #23

Some gold nuts like to believe that the value of gold is constant. While that may subjectively be true to them, in practice its buying power is always in a state of flux. For various reasons though, those swings in buying power do tend to be much smaller than what we see with other precious metals such as silver or platinum group metals, as well as with base metals like copper, aluminum or nickel. No single material has a perfectly constant buying power, but some do exhibit more stability than others. Aluminum was once considered a precious metal, now the streets are littered with it.

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June 13, 2011, 07:00:17 PM
 #24

Food has only temporary value as well. I just showed you that at some point food was less valued than a car.

The farmer and his entire family will always need food, for the rest of his life at steady 4 to 12 hour intervals, and if he was too hungry to drive his daughter might just as well have died.

Just because I currently value a bitcoin as worth more than 5 breads does not mean bitcoin is more valuable as a commodity. Bitcoin has no value for most people in the world.
I will always need bread, even if my internet access is cut off or there is a massive shortage of electricity, I'll manage without bitcoin.

However, you or I can't manage without bread or other food. We can manage without bitcoins. Hence bitcoin has subjective value (up to market to decide) but food is always worth *something*.

If fuel runs out globally, cars become worthless. If there is an attack on electricity networks, all gadgets become useless.
But food can't become useless as long as someone is alive.

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hugolp
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June 13, 2011, 07:23:19 PM
 #25

Food has only temporary value as well. I just showed you that at some point food was less valued than a car.

The farmer and his entire family will always need food, for the rest of his life at steady 4 to 12 hour intervals, and if he was too hungry to drive his daughter might just as well have died.

Just because I currently value a bitcoin as worth more than 5 breads does not mean bitcoin is more valuable as a commodity. Bitcoin has no value for most people in the world.
I will always need bread, even if my internet access is cut off or there is a massive shortage of electricity, I'll manage without bitcoin.

However, you or I can't manage without bread or other food. We can manage without bitcoins. Hence bitcoin has subjective value (up to market to decide) but food is always worth *something*.

If fuel runs out globally, cars become worthless. If there is an attack on electricity networks, all gadgets become useless.
But food can't become useless as long as someone is alive.

Do you realize you are justifying that food has subjective value? You are saying that food is valuable to humans because we need it. That is the exact definition of subjective value.
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June 13, 2011, 07:26:21 PM
 #26

Food has only temporary value as well. I just showed you that at some point food was less valued than a car.

The farmer and his entire family will always need food, for the rest of his life at steady 4 to 12 hour intervals, and if he was too hungry to drive his daughter might just as well have died.

Just because I currently value a bitcoin as worth more than 5 breads does not mean bitcoin is more valuable as a commodity. Bitcoin has no value for most people in the world.
I will always need bread, even if my internet access is cut off or there is a massive shortage of electricity, I'll manage without bitcoin.

However, you or I can't manage without bread or other food. We can manage without bitcoins. Hence bitcoin has subjective value (up to market to decide) but food is always worth *something*.

If fuel runs out globally, cars become worthless. If there is an attack on electricity networks, all gadgets become useless.
But food can't become useless as long as someone is alive.

Do you realize you are justifying that food has subjective value? You are saying that food is valuable to humans because we need it. That is the exact definition of subjective value.

Hugo, I agree with you that food has objective value. It is a necessary component of human life, but depending on the supply and demand of certain foods, the prices might change, but there will always be demand, unless we kill ourselves off. It's more objective than subjective, imo.
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June 13, 2011, 07:44:20 PM
 #27

Food has only temporary value as well. I just showed you that at some point food was less valued than a car.

The farmer and his entire family will always need food, for the rest of his life at steady 4 to 12 hour intervals, and if he was too hungry to drive his daughter might just as well have died.

Just because I currently value a bitcoin as worth more than 5 breads does not mean bitcoin is more valuable as a commodity. Bitcoin has no value for most people in the world.
I will always need bread, even if my internet access is cut off or there is a massive shortage of electricity, I'll manage without bitcoin.

However, you or I can't manage without bread or other food. We can manage without bitcoins. Hence bitcoin has subjective value (up to market to decide) but food is always worth *something*.

If fuel runs out globally, cars become worthless. If there is an attack on electricity networks, all gadgets become useless.
But food can't become useless as long as someone is alive.

Do you realize you are justifying that food has subjective value? You are saying that food is valuable to humans because we need it. That is the exact definition of subjective value.

Hugo, I agree with you that food has objective value. It is a necessary component of human life, but depending on the supply and demand of certain foods, the prices might change, but there will always be demand, unless we kill ourselves off. It's more objective than subjective, imo.

Im saying that all value is subjective, including the food value.

Objective value means that its value is independent of the needs and wants of humans. That its value is inherent, not dependent on any human.

For me its obvious that is imposible. Value will always come from the needs and wants of humans, therefore is subjective.
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June 13, 2011, 08:10:50 PM
 #28

I am believe that theme discussed in this thread -

http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=11614.msg168372#msg168372

Was close enough to current thread, to mention about it.

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June 13, 2011, 08:14:44 PM
 #29

Food has only temporary value as well. I just showed you that at some point food was less valued than a car.

The farmer and his entire family will always need food, for the rest of his life at steady 4 to 12 hour intervals, and if he was too hungry to drive his daughter might just as well have died.

Just because I currently value a bitcoin as worth more than 5 breads does not mean bitcoin is more valuable as a commodity. Bitcoin has no value for most people in the world.
I will always need bread, even if my internet access is cut off or there is a massive shortage of electricity, I'll manage without bitcoin.

However, you or I can't manage without bread or other food. We can manage without bitcoins. Hence bitcoin has subjective value (up to market to decide) but food is always worth *something*.

If fuel runs out globally, cars become worthless. If there is an attack on electricity networks, all gadgets become useless.
But food can't become useless as long as someone is alive.

Do you realize you are justifying that food has subjective value? You are saying that food is valuable to humans because we need it. That is the exact definition of subjective value.

Hugo, I agree with you that food has objective value. It is a necessary component of human life, but depending on the supply and demand of certain foods, the prices might change, but there will always be demand, unless we kill ourselves off. It's more objective than subjective, imo.

Im saying that all value is subjective, including the food value.

Objective value means that its value is independent of the needs and wants of humans. That its value is inherent, not dependent on any human.

For me its obvious that is imposible. Value will always come from the needs and wants of humans, therefore is subjective.

Sorry I had just woken up when I wrote that post, what I said made no sense.

Sure it has some subjective value, but food or water will always be needed until science alters our metabolism, so there will always be some value to it.
hugolp
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June 13, 2011, 08:17:20 PM
 #30

Sorry I had just woken up when I wrote that post, what I said made no sense.

Sure it has some subjective value, but food or water will always be needed until science alters our metabolism, so there will always be some value to it.

Yes, it will always have some subjective value as long as humans exists. Its imposible for anything to have objective value. For something to have objective value it needs to have value independently from humans. Its imposible, because by definition value is what we value, its subjective.
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June 13, 2011, 08:23:11 PM
 #31

I donno... we might be able to create a unit of ... I won't say value, maybe worth would be a better word, defined as the chemicals required to keep one human alive for 1 day. This would be constant, at so many pounds of O2, so many mL of Water, and various amounts of macro and micro nutrients.

As previously stated, though, once we had this constant, everything else would then shift in relation to it.
Sounds too anthropocentric for my taste.

Seeing as how humanity is the only thing (on this planet, at least) that worries about value, I don't see that as being an issue. Unless you know something I don't?

As for variance, Yes, and age will be a major (possibly the largest) factor. It should still be possible to make an average for the adult human.

If we're looking for a 'Planck constant' of value, it's not happening. There is no one thing upon which we can base our calculations of relative value on, because nobody values anything equally at all times. Especially if you expand beyond anthropocentric definitions.

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June 13, 2011, 09:58:17 PM
 #32

Value is inherently objective.

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June 13, 2011, 10:47:55 PM
 #33

Value is inherently subjective.

Fixed that for ya.

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June 13, 2011, 10:49:42 PM
 #34

Value is inherently subjective.

Fixed that for ya.

That's what I meant; brain fart.

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June 16, 2011, 06:58:13 AM
 #35

What a wonderfully complex question! Tomes have been written, with no clear answer... The only absolute truth is that everything is relative  Grin
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June 16, 2011, 08:28:44 AM
 #36

No clear answer?  Seriously?

Yes, it will always have some subjective value as long as humans exists. Its imposible for anything to have objective value. For something to have objective value it needs to have value independently from humans. Its imposible, because by definition value is what we value, its subjective.

How about these answers?

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June 16, 2011, 08:32:53 AM
 #37

The concept of value you are probably referring to is purely subjective and therefore I think no absolute value can be defined.

Philosophically no.

Practically, some things behave like they have absolute value because there is such broad consensus regarding their usefulness.

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June 16, 2011, 05:09:01 PM
 #38

We all need some, less or more equal, amount of oxygen.

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June 16, 2011, 07:37:59 PM
 #39

you mean humans need oxygen, that's why its subjectively valuable for humans

 Grin
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June 17, 2011, 02:47:36 AM
 #40

The concept of value you are probably referring to is purely subjective and therefore I think no absolute value can be defined.

Philosophically no.

Practically, some things behave like they have absolute value because there is such broad consensus regarding their usefulness.

Why do I get the impression that some people think that saying something has subjective value means its less important and saying it has objective or absolute value makes it more important? For me it would be the other way around if objective/absolute value even existed. Subjective value is not a less important value, its the only one, but if something else existed, subjective value would be the most important because its what we humans need and want. What can be more important than that? What kind of value could be more important than subjective value if some other type of value existed?
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