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world_bank_germany.html 03.01.2017

Helmar Kloss

Measurement of the Value of Products and Services (Copyright)

World Bank Germany, 03.01.2017

Abstract deutsch

    Gegenwärtig sind Währungen zugleich Messinstrumente für den Wert von Pro­dukten und Leistungen und selbst Waren, die zu verschie­de­nen Zeiten unterschiedlich bewertet wer­den. In­fol­ge­des­sen va­ri­ieren die Werte von Produkten und Leistungen aufgrund von Veränderungen in zweierlei Hin­sicht: Erstens, weil der Wert der Pro­duk­te und Leistungen in­folge des veränderlichen Verhältnisses zwi­schen Angebot und Nachfrage schwankt. Zweitens, weil der Wert der Wäh­run­gen schwankt, in denen die Preise von Produkten und Lei­stun­gen ge­mes­sen werden. Das ist als wenn man Längen nicht mit dem Pa­ri­ser Meter messen würde, sondern mit va­ria­blen Maßstäben, wie im Mittelalter.
    Um Spekulationen gegen Währungen und mit Produkten und Lei­stun­gen zu unterbinden oder zu er­schwe­ren, muß die Maß­stabsfunktion von der Werthaltigkeit getrennt werden. Ein fester Wertmaßstab ohne eigenen Wert - ei­ne Art Ver­rech­nungseinheit - ist er­for­der­lich, ähnlich denen, die im In­ter­nationalen Einhei­ten­system (SI) für ver­schiedene phy­si­ka­li­sche Größen festgelegt sind.

Dear Sirs,
    The origins of economy have been seen in the needs of human be­ings. Actually, this is an always less important part of what hap­pens in economy. Needs have been replaced by greed. The reasons lie, I believe, in a kind of psy­chic or even mental disorder pro­voked by an early loss of love suffered most seriously by first­born children. In the following I'll describe one of the many symptoms of this illness.
    Humanity has made great progresses in what concerns the in­vention and use of instru­ments for measuring. We are now able to measure fair­ly exactly nearly everything on earth: size, speed, amount, degrees of tempe­ra­ture, length, height, pressure, weight. Even earthquakes can be measured using a scale proposed by Rich­ter.
    Instead, in medieval times measurement was inadequate and arbi­tra­ry. Concerning the matters mentioned above and some others not mentioned medieval habits have been over­come. One of the most important preconditions for re­liable mea­su­ring is the calibrated con­stancy and uni­ver­sal use of scales with standard units. When cubits were used this constancy was not guaranteed. And if scales are chan­ged while measuring is done no exact results are pos­sible. Scales ought to remain con­stant. That's why the Pa­risian meter was a very important invention al­though some little inade­quacy still remained be­cause of the in­flu­ence of tem­perature on metal. Modern methods have over­come even pro­blems of that kind.
    But while size, speed, amount, temperature, length, height, pres­sure, weight and earthquakes today can be mea­sured in a fairly re­liable man­ner, the situation re­mains medieval in another very im­por­tant field, - perhaps even one of the most important: in econo­my. There still reigns medi­eval in­ade­qua­cy and ar­bi­trariness al­though re­nowned scien­tists have considered the matter for cen­tu­ries. Va­lues, performances and pro­duc­tion out­put - i.e. the value of pro­ducts and services - are mea­sured and ex­press­ed in standard units that at the same time are mer­chan­dise, i.e. goods to be bought and sold at varying pri­ces: the cur­ren­cies. Thus, in a globalized eco­no­my the va­lues of pro­ducts and ser­vices vary ac­cor­ding to va­ria­bi­lity in two respects:
    First, because the va­lues of products and ser­vices de­pend on the ba­lance of offer and de­mand.
    Second, because the currencies in which the va­lues of products and ser­vices are noted vary in con­sequence of changes in the de­mand for these currencies.
    But nobody seems to recognize this as highly pro­ble­ma­tic. In more than three centuries of thin­king and re­search economists did not find out - as far as I know - what I have presented here.
    Why not? I think, the probable reason is the fol­lowing: The basis of modern economy lies no more in the needs of the people as in former times but in ever more unsatiable greed. There must be ves­ted in­ter­ests of various in­flu­e­n­tial persons as politicians, ban­kers and other pro­fiteers of the actual si­tua­tion which is a re­sult of globa­li­za­tion and through which powerful speculators be­came un­con­trol­lable again.
    We cannot wait for measures of hun­dreds of go­vern­ments to stop this boom of neoliberalism be­cause dangerous crises will arrive soon. What could be done?
    The first actions should remedy the fault that money actu­al­ly has two functions: First, it serves as a measure for va­lues and ser­vices. Second, it is valuable itself and serves for storing va­lues. These two functions ought to be separated as was done for example for weighing be­cause the value of a balance in no way in­fluences the va­lue of the goods weighed, even if it serves for weighing gold. A fixed mea­sure without value - a kind of unit for calculation - is needed as was re­a­lized for some physical quan­ti­ties by the International Sy­stem of Units (SI).
    Your institution is the one that should try to find and impose a solution.
Helmar Kloss