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  • Imagine you're on a game show, and you can choose between two prizes:

  • a diamond

  • or a bottle of water.

  • It's an easy choice.

  • The diamonds are clearly more valuable.

  • Now imagine being given the same choice again,

  • only this time, you're not on a game show,

  • but dehydrated in the desert after wandering for days.

  • Do you choose differently?

  • Why? Aren't diamonds still more valuable?

  • This is the paradox of value,

  • famously described by pioneering economist Adam Smith.

  • And what it tells us is that defining value is not as simple as it seems.

  • On the game show, you were thinking about each item's exchange value,

  • what you could obtain for them at a later time,

  • but in an emergency, like the desert scenario,

  • what matters far more is their use value,

  • how helpful they are in your current situation.

  • And because we only get to choose one of the options,

  • we also have to consider its opportunity cost,

  • or what we lose by giving up the other choice.

  • After all, it doesn't matter how much you could get from selling the diamond

  • if you never make it out of the desert.

  • Most modern economists deal with the paradox of value

  • by attempting to unify these considerations

  • under the concept of utility,

  • how well something satisfies a person's wants or needs.

  • Utility can apply to anything from the basic need for food

  • to the pleasure of hearing a favorite song,

  • and will naturally vary for different people and circumstances.

  • A market economy provides us with an easy way to track utility.

  • Put simply, the utility something has to you

  • is reflected by how much you'd be willing to pay for it.

  • Now, imagine yourself back in the desert,

  • only this time, you get offered a new diamond or a fresh bottle of water

  • every five minutes.

  • If you're like most people, you'll first choose enough water to last the trip,

  • and then as many diamonds as you can carry.

  • This is because of something called marginal utility,

  • and it means that when you choose between diamonds and water,

  • you compare utility obtained from every additional bottle of water

  • to every additional diamond.

  • And you do this each time an offer is made.

  • The first bottle of water is worth more to you than any amount of diamonds,

  • but eventually, you have all the water you need.

  • After a while, every additional bottle becomes a burden.

  • That's when you begin to choose diamonds over water.

  • And it's not just necessities like water.

  • When it comes to most things, the more of it you acquire,

  • the less useful or enjoyable every additional bit becomes.

  • This is the law of diminishing marginal utility.

  • You might gladly buy two or three helpings of your favorite food,

  • but the fourth would make you nauseated,

  • and the hundredth would spoil before you could even get to it.

  • Or you could pay to see the same movie over and over until you got bored of it

  • or spent all of your money.

  • Either way, you'd eventually reach a point

  • where the marginal utility for buying another movie ticket became zero.

  • Utility applies not just to buying things, but to all our decisions.

  • And the intuitive way to maximize it and avoid diminishing returns

  • is to vary the way we spend our time and resources.

  • After our basic needs are met,

  • we'd theoretically decide to invest in choices

  • only to the point they're useful or enjoyable.

  • Of course, how effectively any of us manage to maximize utility in real life

  • is another matter.

  • But it helps to remember that the ultimate source of value comes from us,

  • the needs we share,

  • the things we enjoy,

  • and the choices we make.

Imagine you're on a game show, and you can choose between two prizes:

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B1 中級

TED-Ed】価値のパラドックス - アクシータ・アガルワール (【TED-Ed】The paradox of value - Akshita Agarwal)

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    吳D に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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