Work and Worth

I believe that one of the most important economic lessons that we all need to learn and to remember each and everyday is that money, worth and value are all informed by perception. There aren’t any concrete rules that can assign an object or a service with a predetermined value unit that remains consistent throughout the ages, it just doesn’t exist. Which is why Robert Reich raises many excellent points when he questions the actual value of the finance sector as opposed to those workers who work for little, but nonetheless provide very important services for those who cannot do for themselves. Unfortunately for us as a society, our brains are still guided by what, I would call, the baser instincts of greed and control and that colors our perception of what is valuable. Honestly when I think of gold and its hold over people, what is so valuable about it anyway? You can’t eat it, breathe it or drink it, mining it is a dirty and polluting extracting process, not very climate change friendly, you can’t take it with you when you die, so why its high esteem? It is pretty and shiny when it is polished, but aside from that, anything else? We can equate the finance industry with gold; they don’t really add much value to our economy, but their positions sound so exotic and important and their way of life on the face seems all fancy and shiny, but in the end you still can’t take it with you. However, when you have a society where people are a valued part of the overall fabric and the value systems are gauged differently such as clean water, air and soil for everyone; universal health care easily accessible and education freely given because everyone contributes fairly and equitably, I think creates a potential for a stronger and more vibrant economic and political society for all participants. I realize that this is utopian, but why not strive for the best instead of accepting what the wealthy deem is fine and acceptable just because it serves their purpose. We have as much value as they do, we have simply let them define the parameters and that doesn’t need to be the case forever, we can decide to change it.
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