Value

Ludwig von Mises

Value is not intrinsic, it is not in things. It is within us; it is the way in which man reacts to the conditions of his environment. Different people and the same people at different times value the same objective facts in a different way.

Valuation can only arrange goods in scales of preference. It can never attach to a good something that could be called a quantity or magnitude of value.

An inveterate fallacy asserted that things and services exchanged are of equal value. Value was considered as objective, as an intrinsic quality inherent in things and not merely as the expression of various people’s eagerness to acquire them.

The basis of modern economics is the cognition that it is precisely the disparity in the value attached to the objects exchanged that results in their being exchanged. People buy and sell only because they appraise the things given up less than those received. Thus the notion of a measurement of value is vain.

Economic calculation always deals with prices, never with values. To prefer and to set aside and the choices and decisions in which they result are not acts of measurement. Action does not measure utility or value; it chooses between alternatives.

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