Day 29: Assigning Value

The other day I was watching my favorite Scottish Vlogger, Dale Phillip to find that he was once again on one of his many trips to India. On such trips, he samples the local fare, interacts with the people who live there, and generally soaks in the environment of that beautiful country.

But every time he buys anything, he always shows the exchange rate at the bottom of the screen. Often, he’ll be able to get a considerable amount of food or a nice-looking article of clothing for less than a dollar or for a few dollars at most.

For example, I watched a video where he ordered a humungous plate of rice, meat and veggies and it only cost him the equivalent of 30 cents.

The vendor who sold it to him looked thrilled to receive a 2 dollar tip.

Setting aside the fact that these currency exchange rates probably necessitate an in-depth discussion of economics, world politics, and philosophy to fully understand (mostly because I probably wouldn’t understand or follow the discussion very well); I was simply struck by the fact that money has legitimately no value as a physical object. It can’t be used as a tool, it can’t be eaten…it is simply used to place value on something else that has actual value.

And yet, we spend our entire lives trying to accumulate more and more of this money. We spend extra time at the office causing us to miss time with loved ones, vacations, and celebrations all just to make a few extra dollars.

Many of our conversations are centered around the price of things and how we can or can’t afford to do something.

I literally can’t imagine a world where money didn’t exist. I’ve seen these movies set in medieval times where they barter and trade, but it honestly seems like a fairy tale, like things never could have been that way.

I’m also, by no means, advocating for us to go backward in time to a bartering society. I don’t think I’d do very well as a fish monger who has to barter seasonally with the tailor, old Tom, to get my son a new pair of pleated pants (although I would enjoy changing my LinkedIn profile to reflect that I’m a fish monger. And I would enjoy getting to know this “Old Tom” I keep hearing so much about).

I just wonder about how we assign value to things and if, because moments with friends and family can’t be assigned a monetary value, we have few qualms about neglecting them for activities that can generate more wealth. If we were forced to assign a monetary value to something like “an hour with family”, how much would it be worth in USD?

Anyhoo, we’re winding down this 30 for 30 blog edition tomorrow. I’ll continue posting, but I don’t know if it will be with as much frequency. We’ll have to see about that.

Tune in tomorrow for the finale, it’s gonna be a doozy (assuming I can come up with a topic that is indeed, a doozy).

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