There used to be a time when I would watch Ebay auctions and see what people were bidding for. Especially back in the 90's and early 2000's when rare CD's were being fought over. I'm sure many of you will remember those days. And then along came Napster, Bit Torrent and Peer To Peer networks, and soon - filesharing was born.
Since those heady days, the price of CD's has dropped through the floor. LP's still remain cheap, but shipping anywhere across the globe will set you back a small fortune. Sellers have jumped on the bandwagon by ramping up postage, offset by international parcel delivery services such as UPS who are raking in the dollars though it's hard to tell whether the cost of their service (not their volume) has gone up, or do they just have a monopoly and exploit it?
You would think that with automation, streamlining and efficiency, that packaging and postage would see a decrease in costs. That doesn't appear to be the case.
So back to filesharing. With the generosity of so many folk around the world, hard to find records are now just a router/modem signal away. Yes, we can talk about all the ethics about filesharing until we are blue in the face, but the activity won't go away any time soon. All that has happened is opportunists now put a fixed price on their 'for-sale' items (Buy Now); so that there is very little opportunity to participate in an auction, because the returns would be so low to the seller, due to the proliferation of the item as a fileshare.
Which leads me to my story lead. How does one compare worth to value? Obviously, a seller will place his/her perceived value on an item, while the buyer will place a perceived worth on the same, and decide upon a course of action. Typically, never the twain shall meet! This 'dance around the fire' has been going on forever, but in the 21st century, value and worth seem to have taken on a new meaning.
This is apparent in just about all aspects of our online and offline lives. Let me give you a couple of examples to illustrate my point:
1) Wikipedia is a voluntary online service with an army of volunteers. I myself have occasionally gone online to correct a few articles, usually those associated with back links to GDM. They have huge online costs, but they don't have a sponsor, so occasionally they have to fund their operation through a donation drive. All they ask for is a nominal amount ($3.00) through a nag page, but it seems many just consider them to be a free service that will go on into perpetuity. Surprise surprise when Wikipedia has to close their doors because they can't afford to keep the lights on. We'll all be worse off if Jimmy Wales and his team are no longer around.
2) I use Linux as my choice of computer operating system. Just about all of the software is free. Let's say 99.9% of it. Many platforms are run as small businesses and survive on users contributions. Some of the larger Linux systems like RedHat are owned by IBM, Ubuntu/Canonical have a millionaire owner and some wealthy contributors, but users have to spend very little if anything to use a full-blown Linux system in lieu of paid solutions like Apple/Mac and Microsoft Windows. This is definitely a case where value and worth are closely aligned.
3) Then we go into retail. What a minefield. This brings into play the value and worth placed on service, among other things. If you live outside of the USA, tipping is something that is not usually done. I've heard and read some horror stories about tipping, especially where service has not been great. Would you tip if the service was poor? For me, I don't think I've ever tipped in my life, so I don't have any examples to draw upon.
Retail also goes into areas such as product quality and after-sales service. Using the Restaurant model as an example, there are issues around pre-booking, late cancellations, hygiene, meal choices, waiting service, food and presentation quality and.. online feedback. Businesses are on a hiding to nothing, with ungrateful customers using social media like a weapon. Who would want to be a restaurateur? The 'customer is always right' motto has swayed too far in favour of the customer. One day when restaurants and food operations cease to exist will people start questioning why. People will just have to feed themselves. Uber Eats anyone?
4) What about employment? Yes, a dodgy one. It's another 'never the twain shall meet' scenario. Personally, I've had enough of the corporate nonsense that goes on in the workplace. I've been out of the fulltime corporate system for a year now, and though not being in it anymore presents some financial challenges, overall I'm a much happier person as a result. My recent blog article on Bullshit jobs being an example. Not having to deal with drones, clones, egos, personalities, travel-time, and the boring work these entities undertake is a huge relief. To me it just wasn't worth it. I placed a higher value on my own achievements.
Most of us will know that there are many obstacles to negotiate and hoops to jump through just to become a suit in a cubicle. Thankfully, many young workers are seeing this corporate trap for what it really is, and are opting out early to live their dream and to build their passion, whatever that may be.
They have placed worth and value relative to their personal aspirations rather than being dictated to by some middle management clone stuck in a 9-5 rut. Somehow the thought of a 30-year mortgage becomes the nightmare of a never ending financial prison.
Worth vs Value - Less is More
These days, I subscribe to the 'less is more' statement. I'll be offloading much of my household to reduce clutter and the emotional burden of holding onto things as attachments. This process can also morph into your personal domain; around things such as thoughts, beliefs, relationships, unnecessary engagements (a la social media) and conflict. As above, so below.
I find great value in having fewer possessions. There's an old saying: 'only when you have absolutely nothing, will you be absolutely free'.
Thankfully this doesn't apply to GDM, as there is much of value and worth written in our hallowed halls by not only myself, but all the valuable contributions made by many of you here.
As in the words of Matthew and Gunnar Nelson: 'Peace out'.