The Price of everything, the value of nothing

January 6th, 2010

Both Oscar Wilde and later Arthur Miller talked about those who knew "the price of everything, and the value of nothing."  In today's technologically driven desire for the "perfect market" this is perhaps more profound than ever.  But is faith in the "perfect market" and in prices a real way of valuing the world?  Are we taking into account the real costs of the things we consume? Does the current financial crises indicate that we have to recalibrate the relationship between markets and the underlying economy and do we need a new way to value the world's worth.  These are the ambitious and provocative ideas taken up by activist and academic Raj Patel in his new book The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy.  My conversation with Raj Patel:

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