The consumer causes the value to vanish, because it was created for this end.
Following on the review of his predecessors’ mistakes, Frédéric Bastiat refutes that “durability” is a condition to the value of things. It is a mistake consistent with Smith’s error on materiality – services being consumed at the same time of their production, their value is instantly destroyed and Adam Smith had deducted from it that they did not have value. The mistake was gross and implied that, on that occasion, the latter was forgetting that wealth lies in the satisfaction of wants rather than in the effort made to satisfy them.
I like this quote for its concision in reminding us that we live in a consumer’s society, which is not to say that individuals define themselves by what they consume (despite what all those smearing it believe they know) but because commercial exchanges are at the basis of individual relationships, directly or indirectly, in the way individuals create value for others who then consume it.
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