True Value vs Artificial Value: My Economic Theory

Originally posted at on November 22, 2011

As any economist will tell you, economics is an art, not a science. It is built from the ether up. I can tell you with great confidence that I am an economic philosopher, without ever having obtained a degree in economics. A huge portion of economic theory comes from the creative impulse. Just ask any economist.

What I am about to outline for you is my own economic theory. And at the end of this lesson, I will ask you to take a leap of faith.

Why was Apple so successful?

This is just one example of how money follows love.

The reason Apple was/is so successful is that we love Steve Jobs. We love his products, his design, and we want to support it. It’s a win/win when we buy an Apple product and the company (Apple) takes care of us with excellent support. (Things break down when that support starts deteriorating!) Their products are beautiful, they work well, and they have a certain panache. The huge profits that Apple makes can be thought of as our expression of love for the company, its founder, the people who work there, as well as its products. I know how I feel when I see an Apple technician in his blue shirt: comforted.

We buy things we either 1. Need or 2. Love. And when the two go together, it’s like amazing sex.

Often, we buy things we despise. This is a difficult situation, because we only buy those things we hate when we need them so badly, we “can’t do without” them. A perfect example of this is gasoline. I don’t know about you, but I hate buying gas because it represents a degradation of my environment and it stinks. Any time a person buys something that they know isn’t really good, if during the process of getting to your house, it created some bad effect; if all the way back to the place from whence it came it has a dubious history, then that person is splitting his soul.

The business practices of companies have to be taken into account when we attribute value to that company. We need to start promoting companies we love, putting our money where are values are, because doing anything else doesn’t feel good.

This marks the difference between True Value and Artificial Value: does it feel good?

A company who takes care of its people, who wants to make a superior product in design, in function, and taking into account its ecology, should be the company that wins the business. Have we been awarding our cash to the companies who mirror our values, or are we throwing good money after bad, giving it away to companies who aren’t taking care of us in a myriad ways? Would you rather support a company that pollutes, pays its top executives ridiculous salaries and bonuses, and worse: lies to us, or a company that tells it like it is, provides a product that lasts and functions elegantly, and is fiscally responsible to society? If the later product costs a little more or takes time to make, isn’t it worth it.

Instead of being an “unconscious consumer” we have to give careful consideration to our purchases. If we don’t, we are actually contributing more and more to this splitting of our own souls.

So don’t be a careless consumer. The leap of faith you must take is to trust your own instincts. Not the ones that are driven by your fears, but the ones that are wooed by love.

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