A celebrity paid a $500,000 bribe to get her two daughters into a good college.
In response to this event, I saw a news outlet asking the question, “how much is a slot at a top university worth exactly?”
My answer to that question would be: “to the celebrity, it was worth $500,000”. Why? Because value doesn’t exist apart from a context. That’s the meaning behind “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure”.
I like to think of value as the benefit someone gets from something.
Why did the celebrity think university slots were worth $500,000? Well, it's complicated.
Because the concept of value is complicated.
It has many many facets. For instance...
Predicted value - the amount of benefit you think you’ll get from something before you actually have it.
Conscious/unconscious value - whether or not you’re aware of the benefit you’re getting from something.
Actualized value - what happens when value becomes real.
Degree of value - the level of value of one thing in relation to another.
Potential value - the opportunity something has to provide benefit.
What’s most interesting to me though is how value arises. Let’s consider higher education once more: is college worth it?
It depends. It depends not only on what you want to get out of it, but it also depends on whether or not you go.
Cause here’s the overlooked thing about value: you’ll only know how valuable something actually is if you say yes to it.
You can predict value, but you can’t verify (actualize) your prediction without the direct experience.
This has practical implications.
More about value in my next post.