Assembly: How Do We Value Things?

Wednesday 12th February 2014

On Tuesday 11 February, Mr Ian Chapman, Teacher of Business Studies and Economics, gave an assembly entitled ‘How Do We Value Things’ looking at how economists place a value on the “products that we consume and produce.

Please see below for the full script from the assembly and the powerpoint presentation:

Value and Worth – How do Economists place a value on the “products” that we consume and produce?

(Page 1) One of the key questions that economists ask is “how much are we prepared to pay in order to buy certain goods and services?” A box of chocolates might be “worth” £2.50 to us and this places a value on the box of chocolates. It will tell us the value of the benefit that we receive from these chocolates. However, can we really place a value on such goods or even services? How do we know what we are getting? Do I really know the true value when I buy education and what if my decision to buy affects others in a positive or even negative way?

These are all questions that must be explored when studying economics as we ask whether the market – where prices are set – is the correct way to allocate our scarce resources.

The question of knowing the true value hit home to an Australian lady recently when she put an advert on Gumtree asking to buy 2 IPhones. She met up with a stranger at a food outlet, parted with $1,200 without opening the boxes only to find that they contained 2 apples. As one witty commentator wrote “smartphones are now smarter than some of their owners!”

(Page 2) Talking of Apple, it is one of the most expensive brands in the world, valued recently at £98bn (although this has fallen more recently). This compares with the £97bn that the government spent on education in the UK. Can we really compare the value of a leading company to the value we place on education?

(Page 3) Oscar Wilde once said that a cynic “knows the price of everything but the value of nothing.” How do we value ourselves and others?

(Page 4) I would suggest that we can take our value from three different sources.

  • Appearances.

Very often we place great value in our looks and our appearance. The “orange glow” that emanated from some girls attending the recent Lower Sixth ball gave evidence of that! I should know as I tried desperately to remove the “colour cast” from the photos that were taken at the ball.

The following poem sums up the thoughts of a young man whose new bride wasn’t all that he thought she would be:

(Pages 5-9) “Side by Side” by George Younce

Well, I got married last Friday

My new wife stood beside me

When the guests had gone home

We stood alone

Side by Side

We were glad we were wed then

We got ready for bed then

Her teeth and her hair

She laid on a chair

Side by Side

One tin leg to follow,

one glass eye so small

She unscrewed her left arm

And put it on the chair by the wall

I stood there broken hearted

Most of my wife has departed

So I slept by the chair

There was more of her there

Side by Side

 (Page 10)

  • Intellect

We can sometimes place a value on ourselves (and others) by considering our intellect, our marks, our GCSE grades, AS grades etc. But if we do this then it can lead to us being afraid of making mistakes.

Witness the girls in the Sixth Form whose pens hover over blank sheets of paper whenever I ask them to write down what they might think the answer is to certain questions. “Tell me the answer, Mr. Chapman” is the usual refrain. “Think for yourself and just try it out” is usually met with “but I don’t want to get it wrong!!”

Are we so afraid of making mistakes that we get paralysed with fear and will never take a chance? If so, then perhaps we are placing too high a value on our intellect and our “grades”.

Oscar Wilde said that “Mistakes are the portals of discovery”. If we are afraid of making mistakes for ourselves then we will never truly know the true riches of making discoveries that will stay with us longer than the “information” that any teacher has given you and you have taken away to “remember”.

(Page 11) Does this mean that we don’t strive for accuracy? No, but we need remember that:

  1. a man must be big enough to admit his mistakes,
  2. smart enough to profit from them,
  3. and strong enough to correct them”      

John Maxwell – If we don’t know our true value and put it in our intellects then will never succeed. Never fear failure.

Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker,

Failure is delay, not defeat,

It is a temporary detour, not a dead end.

It is something we can avoid only by …

Saying nothing …. Doing nothing … and being nothing.

Denis Waitley

(Page 12) 

  • True Value

So where do we get our true value from. I would suggest that we need to think of how much we are valued by a higher authority. I was grateful to Mrs. Harrington for reminding us that it is Valentine’s Day on Friday (so, incidently will be my wife!).

In the UK, we spend on Valentine’s Day

  • £1bn on cards, presents and flowers ($18bn in USA)
  • which equates to £120 for each person
  • and buy 2.8 million bunches of flowers

There are two other figures that I find amazing – £231m and 53%. The first is the amount spent on pets by “loved-up owners” and the second the percentage of women who said they would end their relationship if they didn’t get something for Valentine’s Day.

(Page 13) Can I reiterate that our value does not lie in how much other people spend on us or how many cards you receive. It does not lie in our looks or even our intellect. Our true value must lie in what God thinks about us. You may not even believe that there is a God or you may think that if He exists then He really cannot like you very much.

I met a man once who had become a Christian but hadn’t had the easiest of lives. He felt that God would be angry with him at what he had got up to. He read through the bible and discovered that, instead of being an angry father waiting to punish him, God had, in fact, placed great value on him. He wrote down some of the things that the bible says about what God thinks about us and presented it in a love letter written by God.

There is no better way to finish than to read this over ourselves so that we can try to understand that our “true” value has been placed on us by a loving Father who sent His own son to die for us.

Mrs. Harrington spoke yesterday of God’s unconditional love for us based not on what we do but just on who we are. Remember that we are human “beings” not “doings”.

The following is this “love letter” and may we all be blessed when we start to understand how much God the Father truly loves us. We will then have the confidence to take risks, learn from mistakes and know what our true value is –

My Child,

You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28

For you are my offspring. Acts 17:28

I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12

You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. 
Psalm 139:15-16

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13

And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me. John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1

Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1

For I am the perfect father. Matthew 5:48

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Because I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3

My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Psalm 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40

For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5

I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. Jeremiah 32:41

And I want to show you great and marvelous things. Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29

Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires. Philippians 2:13

I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20

For I am your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus.John 17:23

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being. Hebrews 1:3

He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. 1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. 1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7

I have always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15

My question is…Will you be my child? John 1:12-13

I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad, Almighty God


Click here to view the full presentation