What You Have of Value

Verb to noun

To transform the development-verb level of value to the things-noun level requires filtering out time.  You bring the flow of the verb to a particular moment in space and time, to the here and now.  As one flow overlaps with another, you have a moment that satisfies a need, at the noun level.  In filtering out time, you bring the value at the verb level of access to development and relationship into the specific satisfaction you receive from it right now – its utility for you.  Out of the verb level of value exchange, you find the moment of exchange, where you set the specific value you can agree to in the exchange, which you refer to today as the price.  In the moment of exchange, you filter out time from the verb mode of exchange, the value exchange inquiry, to find a mode that captures and retains that value, what is referred to today as money or the currency you use.  It is interesting that currency is a noun denoting the verb of a current.  In the transformation of the verb to noun, you also filter time out of who influenced the resource dynamics around the distribution of the value in the exchange to see what residual remains in the stock being exchanged.  You see here that the verb to noun transformation of filtering out time brings you to the present of what is available here and now.


At the noun level of value, you experience value as the satisfaction of a perceived need.  This noun is a projection of the shifting verb into a moment in space and time.  This means that it is a choice of where and when to have verbs overlap.  This is a very special instance in space-time, where the energy in the flow of light potential is completely contextualized, and then shifts form.  This is very different than saying that the scarce thing was there and you decided whether you wanted it or not.  From this perspective, choice is drastically limited, as it completely misses the choice in when and where to have two verbs overlap, and only asks if the somewhat arbitrary overlap that we encountered works.  Need satisfaction is the utility you receive from satisfying a perceived need.  This is the realm of utility maximization, as described amply in the economic literature.

Value of exchange

To determine the value of exchange, at the noun level, you integrate the flows of the related verbs, at a specific moment of overlap, in space-time.  This gives you the supply-demand curves of economics.  Supply and demand curves express the rate of change (the derivative) of the value one experiences in the exchange.[1]  Over different prices, the rate each overlapping side is ready to accept and provide changes.  This holds for both the supply and demand sides.  In economic terms, supply and demand determine the price paid for factors of production (land, labor, capital).[2]  This is the noun-level description of value.  The father of modern economics, Adam Smith, suggests the price is a measure of utility, “Nearly all actions of life are governed, at least in part, by desires the force of which can be measured by the sacrifice which people are willing to make in order to secure their gratification: this sacrifice may take many forms…But in our world it has nearly always consisted of the transfer of some definite material thing which has been agreed upon as common medium of exchange, and is called “money.”…Thus then the desirability or utility of a thing to a person is commonly measured by the money price that he will pay for it.”[3]  More significantly, for our exploration of the agreements that guide human interaction, I note that microeconomics starts at the price question, delving into the behaviors of individuals in markets.[4]  This means two things, at this stage.  First, much time and energy has been dedicated to understanding how individuals arrive at a shared understanding of the value of exchange at the noun level – the agreed price.  Second, the microeconomic description of value focuses on the noun level, leaving out the light and verb levels of the human experience of the value of exchange.

Mode of exchange

My colleague Orland Bishop observed that, “Once human beings lose the capacity to give value to something, they have lost the sacred.  They are pursuing something (money) on the planet that others (the Federal Reserve) have said is valuable.”[5]

As time is filtered out of the verb level of the mode of exchange of inquiry in the value exchange, you come to the space-time moment of the exchange itself.  This is where the needs of both parties are potentially satisfied.  The mode you use for this exchange is money.  Money is an instrument that allows the exchange.  Money has a long history of its many, constantly evolving forms, from in-kind exchange to more liquid forms such as the currency you use today.

Interestingly, money is the most taboo topic.  A perceived relationship of scarcity to value, as it expresses in scarcity-based relationships to money, is responsible in our experience for most divorces, family breakups, and community dissonance.[6]  In the scarcity worldview, one’s perceived inner value is an inward projection of one’s accumulation of monetary wealth, a noun.  A projection of a noun is a smaller noun, one’s intrinsic value, which one projects back into the world, unconsciously, as static scarcity.  This is supported by a culture of acceptance of the rules of value generation and exchange as given.  The monetary structures and processes supporting this view of money are defined by scarcity.

Distribution of value in exchange

At the noun level of value, who gets what in the distribution of the value in the exchange focuses on the stock.  At this level, who has something in their stock receives value.  Entering the distribution question from the transformation of light into verb into noun is relatively straightforward.  Entering it from a scarcity-based perspective of the noun is not straightforward.

From the scarcity-based perspective, the seemingly obvious is that who ever has it gets it.  This brings in the question of who has it, which becomes a necessary question of ownership.  While each school of economic thought has the only “right” answer to who owns what, their solution depends completely on the primary relationship they feel to be most important.  For example, in the individualist economics of free markets, the relationship to self comes first.  The individual owns things.  From this perspective, the obvious solution is that whoever has something gets the value generated from that something.  This school of economics suggests, from a theory of surplus, that owners of land are paid rents, owners of labor are paid wages, and owners of capital are paid profits, that which is left over after paying rents and wages.  An innovation that results from this understanding emerged with the perspective on capital describe in the previous chapter on the big questions of resources.  If you have capital, then you can use it to generate more capital.  This is money making money on its own.  Nestled into this example is an assumption of who receives a fixed amount or a variable amount in the exchange.  Typically, rents are paid to owners based on a fixed, negotiated contract over a specified period.  Likewise, wages are paid to labor on a fixed, negotiated contract over a specified period.  These are both fixed, which benefits the land owners and labor, so that they are not at the whims of the manager.  This also allows them to determine whether they are willing to exchange what they have with the managers under the negotiated, relatively risk-free conditions.  The manager has a completely different kind of agreement to value distribution.  The manager’s agreement is variable, based on the net amount of value generated – the value left from what was generated after rents and wages are paid.  This gives the manager the incentive to maximize the value generated, while minimizing the cost of rents and wages, thus promoting efficiency in achieving effectiveness.  Much has been learned from this school.  And, it is not the only school that teaches you something.

The distributive question provides the formal description of what is happening at the noun level of value.  You have an experience of a need that is satisfied here and now.   The formulation is now very simple.  You exchange something (X), thus the formalization of the value experienced at the noun level is:

Value(noun) = X

This formulation shows that whoever has more at the noun level, satisfies more needs at the noun level, and thus perceives more value.  This puts a premium, at the noun level, in having the value – wealth comes from having.  This is the economic formulation of wealth.

[1] For an early description of supply and demand curves, refer to (Marshall, 1890, p. 150).

[2] According to Harvard economist Mankiw, “The price paid to any factor of production – labor, land, or capital – equals the value of the marginal product of that factor…” (Mankiw, 2008, pp. 408-409).

[3] This quote comes from Adam Smith’s famous forging of modern economics, in An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (Smith, 1976, p. 151).  It is curious, from an ecosynomic perspective of light, verb, and noun expressions of value, that most economists today refer to Smith’s work as “The Wealth of Nations,” erasing the initial eight words of the title describing Smith’s perspective on “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of..”

[4] Economists Heilbroner and Thurow start their explanation of microeconomics, clarifying that “The micro point of view brings us immediately to look into the question of prices” (R. Heilbroner & Thurow, 1994, p. 174).  Likewise, economists Samuelson and Nordhaus write, “microeconomics studies individual prices, quantities, and markets” (Samuelson & Nordhaus, 1995, p. 382).

[5] This insight is from Orland Bishop (Teague, 2010d).  It is currently perceived that money has to be scarce to be valuable.  This is exactly the opposite of the human experience of flow being what is valuable, not the limiting of flow.

[6] This observation on money and life was made by psychotherapist Aaron Kipnis (Teague, 2010b).


3 thoughts on “What You Have of Value

  1. Pingback: Measuring Well-being — How Do We Know If We Are Better Off? | Institute for Strategic Clarity

  2. Pingback: From Human Resources to Homo lumens as Competitive Advantage « Jim Ritchie-Dunham

  3. Pingback: Transforming Value from Possibility to Need-Satisfaction « Jim Ritchie-Dunham

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