The value of things

What is “value”? How to decide the value of things? Generally, the value of things is decided by the amount of money that we pay or that we get. There are two kinds of value of a thing, exchanged value and useful value. Exchanged value is the amount of money which a buyer is willing to pay and which a seller is willing to accept for a thing. It is also called price. Useful value is an implicit (= hidden, not obvious) value. It is not easy to determine and is decided by how useful something is.

Everything in the world has its own value. Every item has either useful value or exchange value and sometimes both. For some things, their exchanged value is higher than their usefulness (e.g. jewellery, paintings, stamps, etc.). For some things, their usefulness is higher than their exchanged value (eg. salt, bamboo, cotton, etc). Sometimes, although a thing is useless, it is very expensive because some people have a willingness to pay a lot of money. Alternatively, sometimes, although a thing is very useful, people can get it free of charge.

In the video clip, we can see women focusing on handbags as symbols of status. They prefer the latest design and fashion rather than the usefulness in choosing a bag. They are willing to pay a lot of money (exchanged value) for a bag because it is fashionable and a famous brand. Therefore, the aim of using handbags is misleading.

People mostly pay attention on things with a high price. They are proud of their ability to use expensive things and to own those things. Some people are proud of even eating expensive food at an expensive place. Usefulness of things is gradually neglected (= not cared for).

Nowadays, people are trying to earn a lot of money in order to own as many expensive things as they can. Many people have become greedy for money and some are dishonest in finding money. This is harmful to other people and sometimes to themselves. This can destroy the beauty of earth.

To have an enjoyable life, we should prefer the usefulness of things to the high price of them. We should choose the useful item rather than things that may make people impressed. Really, an umbrella is only important as long as it protects us from rain and the heat from sunlight. It is unimportant whether it is expensive or not. It is the same for anything else too.

What is important is that we should be useful not only for ourselves but also for other people near us and if possible, we should be useful for our surroundings and the earth. We do not need to think about how much money we have or the expensive things we own. We need to think about how much we can help or serve others and how much useful we are.

So, let’s think about which value we will choose and which one we prefer.


Watch the video about the value of handbags and complete the summary with the words in the table.

Handbags come in all shapes and sizes and are an extremely popular fashion accessory. Some handbags are named after or made by 1__________________. Consumers will only buy one 2_______________________________ of handbag and may buy the same bag in different 3______________________. 'It bags' (high-priced popular 4_______________ handbags) are promoted by fashion 5_____________________________ like Vogue, It bags are status symbols that are worn by women to show off

Taschen, an 6_______________________________ about the history of handbags, reveals that rather than being functional, handbags have always been a 7________________________ statement. The exhibition includes the 'Kelly' handbag which is an iconic and expensive handbag that is named after 8_______________________________________ Grace Kelly.

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