Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Measuring real value

What is a measure of real value?
Now we cannot measure value but in terms of money. It means all our measurement of value is relative. It is like measuring time in terms of heart beats - 1 minute is 60 beats. Now if you start running (say printing more money) then will you have more minutes? Of course not! We will have to adjust the equation of how many beats make up a minute.

Modified Gold standard or constant money
Let us look at the modified gold standard - modified for simplicity. The total amount of gold in the world would remain constant. We would keep creating more value. So there will be natural deflation. The amount of deflation will tell us how much value we created. This is fine overall but total amount of gold is not fixed. It grows arbitrarily. So when Spanish empire discovered huge silver mine (also used like gold) they had a problem. So will we if some buried gold is suddenly discovered. Further, as I argued in my book, gold promotes hoarding while slight inflation promotes transactions (or velocity hence GDP). So gold may not be appropriate.

I believe real analysis will only come if we use absolute metric for value. Why can't there be a debate about possible metrics? It is remarkable that for all the human progress we are not able to create an absolute metric for value.