User:Pangaia/My musings on Economic value
What makes economic value?
Is it money? Nope. Money is the representation of economic value and is meant as a placeholder for actual economic value that you've created elsewhere. It is merely the lubricator for economic exchange.
So, then, is it work? It might be. Is your work valuable to someone else? Then, very likely it might make economic value. But different communities define value (noun) or value (verb) things differently. So, what might be economic value to one community (like cutting down a community tree to sell it to industry) might not be value to another group.
So, then, who gets to decide? Well, YOU can. Make your own currency and see how it gets traded relative to anothers, like.... say, the USA! If you're currency trades better than the US dollar, then you have succeeded in surpassing one of the most powerful currencies in the world.
How does the US dollar bill get value? Since policies of deflation-avoidance seem to be the biggest modulator of US currency printing, it is mostly tied to energy production -- the biggest competitor to human effort. As these resources gets extracted, dollars get printed. This makes money "cheap", because Earth is doing the work, not humans. Does that mean these dollars are as valuable as they appear? Only if people are using gasoline and coal to produce true economic value with them. Unfortunately, these resources are heavily subsidized. A gallon of gas, for example, has a net value of about $25/gal, but you pay only 1/10th of that at the pump. What this means is that gas is most likely being used by people who are NOT making the equivalent economic value out of it. The free market cannot self-correct when you subsidize inputs, so you are really throwing (~90%) un-realized economic value down the drain (or up in smoke?).