Saturday, April 12, 2008

Value, Money and The First Law of Thermodynamics by Louis Evan Palmer

"Energy cannot be created or destroyed."

Money, a form of economic energy, is a marker for value. Nothing more. And there are many other markers - for example, stocks & bonds.

If a value marker is more than one step removed from the object of value (where "object" has the broadest possible definition) then it should be considered speculative. Speculative objects should not have any standing versus a marker. They should not be permitted to affect markers. Making a currency convertible to gold or silver was a way of guaranteeing this for money.

One level of abstraction with regards to value markers is more than enough. It is difficult enough to manage that single layer of markers. Going beyond that is the realm of cheats and thieves and those who allow cheats and thieves to prosper are their accomplices. Those who deal with them - beware.

Value is a complex entity and putting a currency value on it is fraught with risk but it's safe to say that for every individual loss of value of an object there's a individual winner. It can only lose value in relation to the establishment of a current value which entails that some money changed hands. If, for whatever reason, the object drops in value then the person who received the pre-loss price is the winner and the person stuck with the depreciated value object is the loser.

There might have been fraud. There might have been insider information. There might have been external forces that caused a drop or increase in value. Regardless, there's a individual winner & loser.

What if real value in all its forms, including potential value, was like energy and it could neither be created nor destroyed but only transformed. When an object is considered to have no value, its value will have been transformed or transferred into something else. The value itself is not lost.

The creation of value would be thrown up as the way out of this limitation. People invent & improve things and that creates new wealth, increases the pie.

But what if the pie was already an almost infinite size and we insisted in seeing only one portion of it? What if all the "value" that there can be already exists and is there for us.

The trick would consist of recognizing what is of value - the thing itself or an irrefutable claim on the value object. Nothing else is worth the paper it's written on, or the terminal screen it types out on. And, of course, this doesn't really touch on all there is of value that doesn't figure into dollars and cents. The best things.

Value, Money and The First Law of Thermodynamics, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,
Copyright 2008 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


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