The Dollar

We assign a dollar value to show worth. For example, a coat costing $100 should be more capable than one worth $10 and less than one worth $1000. Further, calling something priceless hasn’t stopped us from putting a value to it. We’ve set $18,000 for the loss of a finger or $7.5M for the loss of a human life. But not all lives have equal value. In Afghanistan, a life equates to $9000. In sum, we run our economy based upon worth.

We’ve extended this notion to living creatures. A pet dog costs $2000. But if you lost your pet, you might offer a $500,000 reward, being much more than the value of many human lives. We value cattle at $3000 per head, the value of its meat at market. Or, we could consider black market trade such as pangolins with a value of $350 per kilogram in a restaurant. The challenge with this economics is that the living creature is only worth what the market will bear. The worth has no relevance to the creature’s ecological value and presumably its value is nil if it doesn’t provide direct benefit to people.

Why don’t we value Earth’s ecosystems? We’ve tried to put a number to it; 33T $US. Yet, we again are trying to put a value to something that is priceless. Life requires water, energy, and air in the right amounts to support the mix of flora and fauna. Without these amounts, all life ends. As humans continually degrade the ecosystem to support our market economy, can we see the impact of the ecosystem’s value? Can we see our future?