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Que Sera Sera- The Paradox of Value
To learn from the paradox of value principle, proposed by the legendary economist Adam Smith, which states that human beings do not value what they use and need most for life, such as water, but choose to pay highly for things that have no real use or value, such as diamonds
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Sometime in 2013 I was home on a weekday. It was one of those rare days when I was not traveling for my leadership talks/workshops. My sons Zorawar (9-going-on-10) and Ransher (3-going-on-4) returned home by school bus that afternoon. Since I was home, I received them at the bus-stop. Zorawar seemed pensive and said to me “Dad I want to discuss a serious concern with you”. So, we sat down on the grass-lawns of our condominium-complex. Zorawar says to me solemnly, as our 3-year-old sits in my lap.
Zorawar: Dad, oil is getting over.
Me: Don’t worry! Mum and I will buy more from the supermarket (Now, I had figured where he was going with this conversation, but decided to humour him with a life lesson)
Z: I am not talking about cooking-oil!
Me: So, what you talking about?
Me: What oil?
Z: Gas, like Petrol & Fuels!
Me: AH, OIL. I GET IT. But why worry?. Where did you learn this?
Z: In the school Bus. The older boys were talking. No oil means no cars, no buses, no air-travel!
Me: Oh, I see! So, you worried about walking to school, no vacations and..
Z: Kind of!
Me: Son, don’t worry. We are from Incredible India. It’s the Americans & Europeans who have to worry with their huge carbon-footprints and 4-wheel drives, Hummers, Beamers, Mercedes and whatever fuel burning opulent vehicles they use. We are Indians. No Oil. No problem! We will go back to riding Elephants, Camels and Horses. We were also the original aviation guys. Mr. Modi educates us in his PM election campaign (The election fever, fervour and fakery was at an all-time high then, with one party outdoing the other with their tall-tales & buffoonery) that Indians are the original inventors of the Udan-Katola that ran on Lord-Ram’s blessings and fresh air.
Z: (bewildered look in his eyes, like his father has lost the plot): Dad Get serious please! This is no-joking matter.
Me: But son I am serious! I was just kidding with you. NO-OIL. NO-PROBLEM, we will survive. The biggest concern is NOT OIL. Without Oil life will continue but without another liquid, all life would end. It’s the currency of life.
Z: Seriously? What’s that?
Me: Water Zoey, water. Water is the currency of life. NO OIL, we will manage. No Water, BIG WORRY, we will PERISH! Nothing will work. So, Son when you enter that bus tomorrow ask your older friends “Hey what happens when the WATER GETS OVER? See if they have an answer!
Z: Thank you Dad. So, you sure we can survive without Oil.
Me: Yes, Zorawar and Ransher, we will thrive, not just survive. Oil is the prime reasons for a lot of things that are going wrong in our world today. We will save that lesson for another day.
Ideas for Action: We, Human Beings have lost the plot. We value all those things that are destroying nature, environment, water, air and all the most life powering essential elements, while we value all the useless, mindless products as consumers. To learn from the paradox of value principle, proposed by the legendary economist Adam Smith, which states that human beings do not value what they use and need most for life, such as water, but choose to pay highly for things that have no real use or value, such as diamonds. Thus, the paradox of value is also known as the diamond–water paradox. THINK what are we doing as mindless conspicuous consumers. That’s the life lesson.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.
Jerry is a management & OD consultant, celebrated inspirational orator, teacher, UN advisor, internationally certified leadership subject matter expert, trainer, Executive coach and an effective, innovative fundraiser and missionary entrepreneurMore From The Author >>