Home > Uncategorized > Re-evaluating Value – non-market value models for changing times

Re-evaluating Value – non-market value models for changing times

A group of us are starting a discussion on how to model value, from more first principles.

Value is a major aspect of any economic theory: what it is, how it is produced, measured, stored and transferred between agents. Indeed, historically, these aspects characterise different schools of political economy. Some approaches focus on an objective basis for value such as labour or physical resources. Others place emphasis on subjective judgments by individual agents and free exchange between them.

Recent, often ICT mediated, developments such as “commons based peer production”, “crowd funding”, “freecycling” and new virtual currencies do not fit easily into existing economic models of value. On the other hand “complexity science” tools and approaches allow for a widening of traditional models of value.

Traditional models have focused on agents using either object or subjective notions of value and equilibrium points. Agent-based modelling allows for experimentation with new and hybrid notions of value in non-equilibrium conditions. In these, value might be an emergent phenomena where agents construct notions of value through the interplay of subjective and objective factors supporting novel forms of exchange and cooperation.

There will be a workshop (see below),17th & 18th June in Marseilles sponsored by NESS (http://www.nessnet.eu/). For details see:

If you intended to participate you need send an email to Juliette Rouchier <juliette.rouchier@univ-amu.fr> before 9th June (sorry for late notice).

If you can not make it, you can discuss here of course!

  1. June 3, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Henry George’s posthumous “Science of Political Economy” has a useful discussion of this subject and would make a good starting point.

  2. June 4, 2013 at 10:57 am

    It may be worth considering the flow of value as a positive flow in the direction that real goods or services get transferred, and separately the flow fo money as a negative flow that tends to be (but isn’t precisely) equal and opposite.

    A lot of economics goes astray by failing to model in this way, so they model money which is not only unequal to the flow of value but also runs in the opposite direction and has aggregation and time-transfer properties completely different from real items of value.

    In areas that involve large aggregates or long times, such as national debt, investment, or demographic pressure, modelling value and money correctly would lead to much more accurate conclusions than the currently prevailing wisdom that only considers nominal money. Even the phrase “making money” betrays this confusion.

  3. June 5, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    If the “discussion” keeps being framed in the inhumane terms & context of the “conventionally” minded “us” (of plutocrats, prostitutes, professional plutonomists, panderers & academics paid to hold the fort), then what kind of really valuable difference will it make to biological humans? The mention of “notions” of value is encouraging. I also applaud the inclusion of a review/exploration of “first principles” which would be a most valuable endeavor — as long as commitment to deep & thorough & effective investigation is sincere. As my ecometrics make quite clear, the basis & essence of real value — like the universe — are at the source, “the level” of pure principle. After all, real reality, even for economists, is a psychophysical field phenomenon — even if some of “us” are heartless psychopaths.
    > re: “Awareness & Value” a fundamental theory of economics & natural values >
    > mm-greenbook. blogspot. com

  4. Hawkeye
    June 11, 2013 at 9:44 am


    This isn’t unrelated to one of your earlier points about the absence of genuine physical concepts in economic “science”.

    Starting with the Physiocrats, then Ruskin and his maxim “that there is no wealth but life”, through Soddy and into Georgescu-Roegen and most recently Ayres & Warr we are provided with a basis of value that is tangible AND worthwhile; the role of physical work in providing what we consider as “value”:

    Click to access ayres_2005.pdf

    Whereas the Utility based approach of Bentham/Mill etc took mainstream economics into the world of the paranormal, whence it has remained; convoluted and confused ever since.

    This short video of a Steve Keen lecture is also a great intro to the concept:

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