Saintly Thoughts

On Money and Value

Money is an extremely strange thing when you think about it.  Based on an exchange rate determined by nothing more solid than the machinations of central bankers, we willingly turn over large swathes of valuable (or presumably valuable) property.  We know that there is no intrinsic value to the money itself; it is worth what society collectively agrees that it is worth.  Some economists speak of money as a sort of movable stored value.  While perhaps not the best economic definition, nonetheless many of us conceive of money as a sort of natural measure of value.  Therefore, money becomes not a mere means of exchange but in fact takes on the character of an ontological proof of moral worth.  This obviously must be incorrect, for the value money bestows upon some property can vary from day to day, or even from hour to hour.  Yet, as an "analytical" and (apparently) non-sectarian means of measuring value, the seduction to reduce all human goods to the comparative value that money bestows upon them appears to be irresistible.   Is it possible to measure value?  And what might prove the measure of value if not money?  I wish that I knew.