GETTING WHAT WE VALUE
Value. It’s a shape-shifting concept. We come across it everywhere. It signifies the importance, worth or usefulness of something. Our values are what we call the principles or standards of behaviour that represent our judgement of what’s important. Valuing is when we judge something to be worthy or good. To value is also to determine how much money a thing is worth.
Oscar Wilde wrote that a cynic is one who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. That observation, first aired in a play concerning a certain Lady Windermere and her fan (manual air cooler, not cheerleader) dates from the century before last. Not only has it endured; today it seems to resonate more than ever. It begs a question: is nothing priceless?
Mark Carney, lately of Bank of England governorship, giver of the 2020 Reith Lectures, is a man you’d expect to have a view about value. Having spent lockdown ruminating on how we have come to rate financial value over human value, Carney concludes that today’s society has come to embody Wilde’s phrase. Worse, it has contributed to a trio of 21st century crises; Credit, Covid and Climate.
Many will be glad to see 2020 gone. But we face greater challenges. As we enter 2021 with real hope for a return to a new kind of normal, thanks to science and our NHS, I hope that we will see 2020 as both a turning point and a learning point as we must strive forward to save the future of mankind by saving our planet.
I am encouraged by a real motivation to reevaluate value and to strive to reconnect with our true selves and our common, human values. Let’s prove our inner cynics wrong!
Linda Hausmanis is CEO of the IWFM
To read the full January/February 2021 edition, click here.