Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Random Rumination on the Concept of Worth

  

OK, this is one of the more annoying things I have read today. It's a blog post from a supposed marketing guru who has sold tons of books and has loads of devoted followers who hang on his every utterance. I think he's full of soup, as my grandma would say, definitely chunky-style, but whatever. (I'm not big on business-type books because they all pretty much say the same obvious things or tout some business fad that five years later will seem ridiculous.)

 

Yes, I do understand the idea of sunk costs , but there are also cases where the "rational" decision isn't necessarily the "right" decision for a person. For some decisions, it isn't about the money . . . and, you know, that should be OK.

 

In his Springsteen tickets example, you've bought the perfect tickets for a pretty decent price. Someone comes up to you and offers you a ton of money for them. Do you sell? Well, that depends on how big a fan you are and if you want to go through all the trouble of trying to find another pair of perfect tickets. Do I want the money over having the experience? If I took the money, what if I wasn't able to find another pair of "perfect tickets" because even with the extra dollars the remaining "good" tickets are going for $1200? Would I really benefit? What if I then miss the concert but have the money and then (heaven forbid!) something happened to Bruce and there were no more concerts? (Which is fairly likely: all of these guys are getting older, the road is hard, and they sometimes don't take the best care of themselves . . .)

 

And no, the tickets are not now worth $500, in so much as my condo is not worth $300K. Just because people were dumb enough to pay that much for similar ones at one point, doesn't mean that that's what it is really worth. I mean my condo will be worth whatever people what to pay for it *when I decide to sell it*. That's partly the cause of the economic collapse – people basing assumptions on assets gaining ever-increasing value and procuring loans and selling securities on what people *thought* things should be worth and not what they*actually* were. (They also weren't taking into consideration that values can and do go down. So. Freaking. Stupid.)

 

OK, that's been my economic rant for the day. There do seem to be larger questions that tease themselves out of this scenario, such as "What is something's true worth?" and "Are experiences worth more than money?" and "Is the most efficient thing to do necessarily to right thing to do, depending on the person?" And now we're getting in the realm of philosophy, which I think I need to study a lot more of . . .

 

Ugh. There's so much that I don't know! It gets frustrating sometimes . . .

 

 

3 comments:

citizen of the world said...

Motivational business books put me to sleep. I remamber being asked to read "Who Moved my Cheese," and wishing for rat poison.

Merci said...

If your property value goes down and you make less profit on your house, it should even out in the wash, since anything you buy should cost less as well. Of course, that only works out for you IF you buy another property when you sell. If you're retiring and not reinvesting in real estate, then you could be hurt. But the Springsteen tickets, well, the value isn't all financial, is it?

Come to think of it, the value of a home isn't ALL financial, either. Hmmm...

mommanator said...

I can tell ya the most valuable thing I have- it's my children and grandchildren for sure- no price could be put on them! other things are just that - Things!