My interpretation of Chris Cook’s paper Knowledge-based Value and Intellectual Property is that value is a quality a human being
feels when he or she receives a good or a service (= Wealth). Since people have different perceptions value is utterly subjective and an objective measure for the Value of Wealth can not be found without further ado. At the same time it would not be so bad if an absolute measure for Value existed, because it could be used compare the value of different goods or services on an open market.
Chris suggested to peg the measure for the Value of Wealth to an International Carbon Unit (ICU). One ICU is defined as the
greenhouse effect caused by burning 100ml n-octane at the temperature of 20 degrees centigrade. This unit quasi pegs the value of goods and services to the survival of mankind. The ICU unit has the physical
quality of energy (measured in Joule).
Although I like Chris’ approach I do not think that energy is a measure for Value. As said, Value is relative to the subject (a human being) and it also depends on what the subject wants to achieve in any moment. If a
human does not want to achieve anything he rests and exchanges few energy with the exterior world. When he starts out to achieve an aim a human needs energy and time.
Each action a human performs on her way to achieve an aim costs time and energy. The physical quantity Action has the unit energy times time.
Action (aim) ~ Energy * Time [~ := proportional]
A thinking and economically acting human being will minimize energy and time and therefore act in accordance with the Hamiltonian principle of least action.
Tools (e.g. a bike, a hammer,…) and Services (e.g. support by another human) can considerably reduce the amount of energy and time needed to achieve an aim. An intelligent human will therefore use that Tool and
that Service which minimize the Action to achieve a given aim:
Value (Tool) ~ Action (Tool) - Action (aim)
Hence the Value of a Tool would be maximal whose Action is maximal. Like the Action necessary to achieve an aim the Action of a Tool could be pegged to the physical quantity energy times time (measured in Joule *
Value has the physical quantity energy * time
My assumption is: as long not all humans want to achieve the same aim (e.g. survive through avoiding climatic disaster) not only energy but also time is a measure for value. This goes in accordance with the XEG definition of Transaction: a process by which Wealth is exchanged
between two parties. If one subject provides a service to another subject the value of the service only exists in the relationship between the two subjects.
Value (service) ~ Action (service) - Action (aim)
Some forms of Value (goods) transferred between humans are physical matter and can be “stored” in space. Other forms of Value are logical (e.g. words) or digital (e.g. data). Those forms of Value (services) may
save time (e.g. the information where the train station is) and thus reduce the Action to achieve an aim. However, it is not trivial to “store” these forms of Value in space.
Credit is time to pay. A subject who wants to achieve an aim may need Value (in the form of a good or a service) now. A Credit can save time to achieve an aim.
Credit (aim) ~ Value (aim) / time
Credit has the physical quantity energy
XEG Entity phys. quantity unit
Credit Work, Energy J (kg * m^2 / s^2)
Value Action J * s (kg * m^2/ s)
Assume that a Credit is needed to achieve an aim. Then the Value Unit could be defined as the proportionality constant p beween the Credit and its associated Action to achieve an aim.
Leonardo Chiariglione wrote that “Standardisation is the process by which individuals recognise the advantage of all doing certain things in an agreed way and codify that agreement”.
A standard for a Value Unit would require that many humans agree on a common economical aim. This common economical aim depends on the economical system (e.g. two humans, a group of humans (family, company, state), all humans). If the survival of mankind is the ultimate economical aim then Chris is right when he demands a compulsory levy for goods and services which set free CO2 in order to pay the Action to
achieve this aim.
Rather than a Value Unit the proposed ICU is a measure of Credit (energy). Humans could use these Credit Units to achieve an aim i.e. create (subjective) Value.