Cycle 3, Research Round 3 - How do we assign intrinsic value to materials and objects?

Hello everyone!

I am back again with my final round of research. Today I am going to look at an object's usability and how that impacts its price. My previous rounds of research can be found at the following sites:
(Round 1) 
(Round 2)

Sweet, now that that's out of the way, on to the research!


Value and Usability



First smelted in 3600 BC by the ancient Egyptians, gold has continued to fascinate humans for thousands of years. Gold currently is sought after for investment purposes,the strong jewelry market, and the manufacturing of certain electronics and medical devices. But why did gold receive such a good reputation and price? Why has it continued to fascinate mankind for so long? That's what I'm going to look into. (1)

Gold is considered an "uninteresting" element--it barely reacts with other elements. Human's fascination with gold is "bizarre"--so why does this fascination exist? (2)

Image result for goldImage result for gold coins(gold, gold coin) (4,5)

Simply put, gold is so valuable because of its value as a currency. Confusing, right? Well, let's compare how other elements would work as a currency. Take for example the noble gases and halogens. It would be tricky to use a gas as a currency--carrying phials of gas to use as currency is simply impractical. Then you have the poisonous elements (such as mercury and bromine) which are impractical because they are poisonous. Reactive metals would be a poor idea (imagine dropping 5 dollars and having it explode? bad idea), and radioactive elements wouldn't work because they would give everyone cancer. In conclusion, there are a lot of elements that wouldn't work as a currency for a variety of reasons, and all the things that make gold "uninteresting" are what make it perfect as a currency; thus, gold's "uninteresting-ness" is what established its value as a currency, what made it so fascinating to humans. (2,3)

Although gold may not have intrinsic value (see my first round of research for more information on this), it is valuable because there is a mutual agreement made among humans that makes it valuable. Because others think gold has value, you do too. (3)

Now, why is gold so expensive still? We know why it's valuable, but why does it cost so much? The answer is really simple: gold is both somewhat rare and quite expensive to produce; thus, its price must be significant. The rarer something is, the more valuable it is. Take books, for example. Do you think that a normal copy of a book is more valuable than one that has been signed by the author? Probably no. That's because a book signed by the author is rare, are there are a limited number of these books produced. A normal copy of the book can be found pretty much anywhere. (10)

(As of June 19, 2018, gold was priced at $41.04/gram and 41,035.61/kilogram.)(also, the value of gold has recently been dropping. this means that as of a month ago, gold was even more expensive) (7)

Image result for a kilogram of gold size (<<<this is one kilogram of gold) (8)


Are there things you cannot price/money can't buy?

"Money cannot buy peace of mind. It cannot heal ruptured relationships, or build meaning into a life that has none." -Richard DeVos (6)
"Anyone who tells you money can't buy happiness never had any." -Samuel L. Jackson (6)

I'm sure everyone has heard the famous quote "money can't buy happiness", but is that true? Is there really something that cannot be bought/priced?

Many argue that "money isn't everything", and that yes, there are priceless things that money cannot afford. For example, some say money cannot buy time, love, happiness, courage, intellect, purpose, health, or a legacy. They insist that money purchases physical things, but it cannot purchase the emotions or raw feelings attached to these things (e.g. However, others argue that money is "everything". They say it buys families' happiness which roots from economic stability, it makes the world go around, it can buy you anything you want, and it can buy you time (because you can pay others to do things for you). Honestly, the argument is tough, and I'm unsure about where I stand. (11,12,13)

Image result for money can't buy happinessImage result for money can't buy happiness(14,15)

A lot of the things that some argue cannot be bought by money (e.g. time, intellect, health) could be argued as buy-able. For example, money (in places without free health care) pays your doctors bills; therefore, money is what supplies your health. Money buys nicer textbooks, pays tuition fees, and supplies teachers. In this sense, money buys education. Lastly, as said above, money supplies workers. So, in a sense, you can buy free time (need to finish homework? Pay someone else to do it! Now you have free time). However, does owning a textbook make you smart? No. Does paying someone to do something for you really buy you time if you don't spend this purchased time wisely? No. Can you buy a cure to cancer right now? No. In conclusion, I believe money is a factor in enabling someone to achieve a fuller lifestyle/satisfaction/happiness, but it does not grant someone that complex emotion. (opinion)

I don't know, what do you guys think? Can money buy everything, or are there certain things that money cannot afford?


That's all for this week, everyone! Thank you all for reading, and I hope you have a good day!



Works Cited

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(6) -'t-buy-happiness.html
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(10) -
(11) -
(12) -
(13) -
(14) -
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