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Author Topic: Is there such a thing as absolute value?  (Read 7831 times)
chiropteran
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June 17, 2011, 03:34:23 AM
 #41

isn't that what the big mac index is for?

http://www.economist.com/node/17257797?story_id=17257797

sadly mcdonalds won't sell food directly for bitcoins, so the only way to measure the BTC value in burgers is through conversion to another currency first.

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frutza
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June 18, 2011, 07:23:09 AM
 #42

How many apples for a cow? What about oranges? How many bitcoins for another day to live?
Jeez, I'm getting poetic, philosophical and... subjective?
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June 18, 2011, 07:33:10 AM
 #43

All concepts are referenced in terms of other concepts. Kind of like the way that all words in the dictionary are defined using other words in the dictionary. There is no absolute anything! Value, morality, meaning, truth, identity.
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June 18, 2011, 07:44:31 AM
 #44

All concepts are referenced in terms of other concepts. Kind of like the way that all words in the dictionary are defined using other words in the dictionary. There is no absolute anything! Value, morality, meaning, truth, identity.

There are absolutes. Science. Mathematics.

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June 18, 2011, 04:52:55 PM
 #45

Science is NOT absolute. Mathematics... yes, within itself :-)
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June 18, 2011, 06:04:15 PM
 #46

Science is NOT absolute. Mathematics... yes, within itself :-)

Given that Science has given us the definitions of concepts such as 'Absolute Zero' (0 Kelvin), and has been our go-to source for the definition of 'The smallest thing ever' for a few centuries, I'm confident in saying Science has absolutes. Science itself isn't absolute, because We don't yet know everything there is to know about the universe, and we may never know.

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June 18, 2011, 07:04:10 PM
 #47

Is there somthing that never changes value, like somthing you could use to evaluate how much a currency is worth at any point in history without being relative to other currencies nor the price of a BigMac nor anything, somthing that has the same (non-zero) value for anyone at any point in history? Or you can't give somthing value without considering how it's value compares to the value of somthing else?

Um, Marginal Utility has been the understood approach to value for over a century. Short answer: no. No such thing as absolute or "intrinsic" value.

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June 19, 2011, 05:51:31 AM
 #48

Science is NOT absolute. Mathematics... yes, within itself :-)

Given that Science has given us the definitions of concepts such as 'Absolute Zero' (0 Kelvin), and has been our go-to source for the definition of 'The smallest thing ever' for a few centuries, I'm confident in saying Science has absolutes. Science itself isn't absolute, because We don't yet know everything there is to know about the universe, and we may never know.

What is zero? how do you measure it without comparing it to something?
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June 19, 2011, 06:00:27 AM
 #49

Don't know much high school science, do we? 0 Kelvin is when all molecular motion stops. Absolute Zero.

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June 19, 2011, 06:21:45 AM
 #50

Don't know much high school science, do we? 0 Kelvin is when all molecular motion stops. Absolute Zero.

Just a suggestion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Popper You will like it.

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myrkul
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June 19, 2011, 06:39:31 AM
 #51

Don't know much high school science, do we? 0 Kelvin is when all molecular motion stops. Absolute Zero.

Just a suggestion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Popper You will like it.

That is a monster of a wiki entry. I will read it later. But thank you, it does look interesting.

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June 19, 2011, 09:03:51 AM
 #52

That's because Popper was a monster of an intellectual.  He is right up there with Newton in terms of contribution to our theory and practice of science.

At any rate, since the notion of "absolute zero" started this tangent, I think I should point out that absolute zero is a bit like the speed of light.  You can never reach either one, the best you can do is approach them asymptotically.  Really, both of them are just singularities; places where the math stops working.  And absolute zero has the interesting property that there is still a ton of energy and activity going on, just not the sort of thermal energy that we know how to extract.  For more, see Zero-point field and Zero-point energy.

Value has no such singularity, and does not appear in any way, shape or form, to be fundamental.  And even if it was, if we imagined some hypothetical unit of absolute value (I'm going to call it the Planck Value), it wouldn't solve any of the problems in economics (or elsewhere) that people hope to solve by inventing it.  Prices are not stable in time or space because neither supply nor demand are stable either.

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June 19, 2011, 09:22:22 AM
 #53

Value has no such singularity, and does not appear in any way, shape or form, to be fundamental.

Because 'Value' is something defined by the person valuing something, and as was pointed out ...1, 2? pages ago, thus inherently subjective.

Edit: Additionally, the value of something is always defined relative to something else, and not always relative to the same other thing.

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June 23, 2011, 12:34:16 PM
 #54

If one can construct a concept for economic value that is universally-applicable and with a clear definition (expressed mathematically), one is warranted to get a Nobel prize and change the world forever  Smiley Unfortunately, many great minds have tried and failed. Primarily because (it appears) "beauty is in the eye of the beholder"  Smiley and the same holds true for economic value in general...
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June 23, 2011, 03:22:40 PM
 #55

Energy has absolute value.  With technology, the amount of energy required to do anything decreases - this includes keeping people alive: one person requires *rougly* 5MJ/day (~ 60W) food energy just to survive.  But by making food production more efficient, the energy expenditure can be reduced.  So with a constant energy supply this currency is, in a certain sense, deflating - with a given amount of energy you can do more thanks to technology.

BUT, population is growing, and energy-consumption-per-person is growing, so, really, it's inflating - there is less energy available per person, and each person is demanding more energy.  So in this sense, it's inflating, but it's an inflation originating in a supply/demand mismatch.

Somebody (maybe famous) once said "energy is the one true currency", maybe you can find out and tell us all who it was.

If you look at the price of oil (the world's biggest energy supply, excluding perhaps food supply via photosynthesis) in terms of gold, you'll see that the ratio is reasonably constant, fluctuating between 10 to 30 barrels/oz since the early 1970's.  If only for this reason, gold is a reasonable measure of value.

That's my 2 kJ worth, corrisponding to maybe 30sec of survival, less than it took me to write this  Undecided
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June 24, 2011, 05:22:00 AM
 #56

I think part of the confusion here is because we are confusing classes of things with definite amounts. Humans never desire iron or bread in their entirety, and are never faced with a choice of all iron or all bread, but rather as Mises says, definite amounts at definite times. You desire a certain amount of bread at a certain time and are willing to pay a definite amount of money for it, creating a price which reflects its value. Because the amounts of items that humans desire changes from human to human and at different times, value is indeed subjective.  Energy also has subjective value because again humans desire and pay for specific amounts at definite times.
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June 24, 2011, 05:25:15 AM
 #57

No.

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June 26, 2011, 12:28:56 AM
 #58

well, let's see what happens to the energy-as-absolute-value idea when they will come up with some contraption that makes next-to-free energy  Smiley
these scientists, they can make a lot of cool things...
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June 26, 2011, 12:47:41 AM
 #59

Fucking ZPMs, how do they work?

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June 26, 2011, 06:14:41 AM
 #60

what about TIME as absolute value? we never have enough of it, and please don't get einsteinian on me with speed'n'stuff Grin
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