Value, then, is in the service, since value changes as the service does and in the same degree.

Frédéric Bastiat
Economic Harmonies

It is interesting to follow the thoughts of Frédéric Bastiat when he tries and define what value is. It is certainly not without some apprehension that he allowed himself to criticise the illustrious economists who preceded him but he was not completely wrong when he argued that circumstances cannot substitute for the principle itself. Said differently, he blames them for finding a synonym to value in such concepts as “material quality, wear, usefulness, scarcity, labor, inaccessibility, subjective judgment, etc.”

What is amusing is that he then immediately falls in the same trap and merges value and service in today’s quote.

However, I note that he had mentioned earlier that “Value is the relationship existing between two services that have been exchanged”, which seems to be fairly close to what is currently accepted as a definition of value. Of course, I may be wrong and this chapter “On Value” keeps revealing to me that this concept is far from obvious and that I absolutely need to read Jevons, Walras and Menger in order to avoid making foolish remarks.

Other quotes from On Value:
Introduction – Part 1 of 10 – Part 2 of 10 – Part 3 of 10 – Part 4 of 10 – Part 5 of 10 – Part 6 of 10 – Part 7 of 10 – Part 8 of 10 – Part 9 of 10 – Part 10 of 10 – Conclusion – Epilogue

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