On Value£

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A Mexican man was scrolling through the Cartier online catalog on Instagram, as one does. He came across earrings priced at MX237. This happened in England, so they show it as £11, which is USD13.81. Being no fool, he purchased two pairs. Cartier immediately corrected the price, but in England they are apparently strict about selling for the advertised price (with a “z” pronounced “zed” in British English). He won his claim and Rogelio Villareal has two pairs of earrings described as “encrusted” valued at (or worth) £11,046 each or USD27,742. Perhaps he’ll share, but the photo shows him sporting two on one ear. The follow-up may be interesting. I don’t care for them personally, so not a gift idea.

Value is one of those words with many and varied meanings—from what something is worth to a moral (usually plural) to the length of a musical note or the intensity of light or dark in a painting. The one referred to here, of course, has to do with what the dictionary calls “intrinsic” worth. It is a concept I don’t believe in, financially. If you remember, I do have that bag of diamonds and emeralds still missing. Strictly speaking, they have no value to me because I have nothing invested in them. Hurray if they turn up, no loss if they don’t. (Yes, I look for them now and again.)

In Stephenie Meyer’s sci-fi, post-apocalyptic romance novel The Host (2008), the aliens take over human bodies to learn what it’s like to live on Earth. Reviewers dub them “parasitic,” which is accurate if harsh, but their actual name, Souls, is much more relevant to the storyline. They don’t think much of the human race, however, and most humans have been taken over by a Soul. The culture changes dramatically. They do not understand the concept of worth, for example, and everything immediately becomes free. It’s a stretch, but memorable. How different life would be if we had neither capitalism nor socialism, neither fascism nor communism. Here’s a handy chart from the Navy that puts it all in a short PDF. Accuracy not guaranteed.

In our family, among my many mottoes is this: If money will fix it, it’s not a problem. And there are many things money won’t. I’ll let you make a tailored list of those things. Conversely, there are many things we value that have nothing to do with money. You know those, too. Having come to this point, I can end by speculating most of us value values. As for the money, I have been known to take a photo of a receipt on which I saved $57.06 at Kroger’s and sent it to kids.

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