Philosophical Musings

Philosophical Musings

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Subjective & Objective Wealth

There is SUBJECTIVE wealth, & OBJECTIVE wealth. I tend to see everything as subjective wealth, but make a distinction based on human commonality.

For example:
A certain man loves colorful plastic buttons. He searches near & far, & amasses a great collection. He considers himself rich beyond measure. That is 'subjective' wealth. There might be a few people who would give money for these items, but not many.
There are other things that are more universally accepted as having value. A house. A functional car. Ownership in a business. Gold coins. Weapons. A silo full of grain. These are commonly valued items among the human collective, as most of them relate to survival. In an affluent society, hobbies proliferate, & many other items gain SUBJECTIVE value. Comic book collectors place great value on first edition popular comics. But that value is not inherent in the item.. it is just printing on paper. It is the IDEA of the item that has value, which makes it much more subjective.

For real wealth to be created, it must be done by useful labor. It must create SOMETHING of real value, for it to count as PRODUCTION. I do not deny that the comic book publishers, the sports heros, & the hollywood actors work. They give themselves to their profession & are compensated for it. The distinction i am making is that this is NON productive, for humanity. Entertainment is not essential to human survival.. at least paying for it like we do is not. Essentially, they are moochers on the productive sectors of society. They can ONLY survive if the economy is prosperous.. if there is abundant food, clothing, shelter, etc. Historically, court jesters & wandering minstrels were not rich. They barely eked out a living, sponging on the productive segments of society, unless they could hook up with a wealthy patron. This was true of most artists, writers, & musicians, too.

So the difference in perceived value can be put back in objective terms, if other mitigating factors are eliminated. Abundance & prosperity create a false bubble of value. The russians post czar found out about that. Some THINGS, like clothing, jewelry, pots, etc retained their value in an economic downturn. But food, housing, & protection items are always valued. These are the OBJECTIVE things that add to a society's wealth, more than fickle items that rich people play with. If you were suddenly transported into an apocalyptic time, where the struggle for survival was the foremost thing on everyone's mind, the button collection or even the comic books would not have the value that your dad's smith & wesson collection or your mom's gold necklaces.

So while perceived value is subjective, there are objective things that humans need. Those are the things that must be created for a society to thrive. If non productive sectors are esteemed over productive ones, & value is perceived where there is no objective value, that says more about the society & its skewed values, rather than objective truth.

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