The value of tangible possessions depends on perception within an environment, and is not intrinsic.

The possession value of resources is perhaps the most important and significant component of value to all living creatures. Whether resources satisfy their needs or do not determines most activities of living creatures. They attempt to acquire resources that they believe will satisfy their needs, and discard dispose of, or ignore those that do not. They also tend to ignore resources that do not appear to affect them. The possession value of resources most affects exchange, trade, and commerce, all of which are directed towards seeking rewards. Most importantly of all it creates, motivates and drives politics and the pursuit of power.

The value of possessions depends on the perception of their owners, and the circumstances within which they are perceived. The value of a bunch of grapes in Aesop’s fable is nothing to the fox that cannot reach it. A bucket of dirty water has no value in a crowded restaurant, but is priceless to a person dying of thirst in a desert. Gold is of no value unless there is demand and a market for it. If an unlimited supply of gold could be obtained simply by rearing geese that lay golden eggs, the value of gold would fall to the price of eggs. It may be argued that a gold vase has the same ‘intrinsic’ value whether it is in a museum or at the bottom of an ocean. However, its real value is the value that people who have the ability to possess it may put on it. If it lies in an unknown place at the bottom of an ocean, and no one can reach it or find it, it has no value, intrinsic or otherwise, unless it can be found and retrieved.

The utility value of resources depends on the uses to which the resources are or may be put. The measurable exchange value of resources may be obvious such as the quantity of glass beads that can be exchanged for coconuts, or the weight of gold that can be exchanged for a given number of dollars.

The exchange value of a glass of water to a person dying of thirst is unmeasurable. The exchange value of an old oil painting is indeterminate, depending on if anyone wishes to buy it or exchange it, and for what. Resources may have more than one exchange value, – an old automobile may have a measurable engine size, an unmeasurable cash value, and an indeterminate value to a collector of old automobiles.

The possession value of resources imay be satisfying or dissatisfying to their owners. In other cases the owners may be unaffected or indifferent to the possession of some resources. Whether resources satisfy their needs or do not determines most activities of living creatures.


Rum, sugar, and cocoa became very popular in Britain in the Eighteenth Century. The reward of many banks, merchants, importers, and ship owners who invested in this trade was to become very wealthy. Many manufacturers who exported brass and guns to Africa were also rewarded in the same way. Many Africans who were transported to the West Indies (in exchange for the brass and guns) to produce the rum, sugar and cocoa suffered the penalty of slavery and death. When slavery was finally abolished towards the end of the Nineteenth Century the British Government rewarded the slave owners with financial compensation. Slaves were rewarded with their freedom.



The utility of resources may be any one of permanent or replaceable, or consumable.

Exchange of resources may be measurable or indeterminate or unmeasurable.

The possession of resources may be any one of satisfying, or unaffecting, or dissatisfying.

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