February 4, 2013
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From the always great Daily Mail:
Creating value for consumers
Say what you will, but the Mail does know how to choose their pictures. They could as well not write the article at all.
It has always bugged me that libertarians assign a moral dimension to wealth, i.e. wealthy people deserve their superiority because they have earned their wealth by producing things that people buy. A related mantra is that all trading is good for both sides, by definition, else the trade wouldn’t happen. Ergo free trade is a moral imperative and you are worse than Hitler and Gengis Khan combined if you are against it (cf. Caplan).
It also bugs me as a linguist that in recent American speech, the word “value” has changed meaning. It doesn’t mean that something is good, or worth it. Now it means that it has a good cost performance ratio. That something is “Good value” now usually means things that are cheap but actually quite nice to use.
It looks like Sapir/Whorf, and of course Orwell, were on to something when they theorised that language shapes thought. Decades of economicist nihilism has destroyed the meaning of the word “value”. Note that it hasn’t become subjective. It has ceased existing at all.