Why You Shouldn’t Value Everything in Dollars and Cents

Sam Brinson
4 min readSep 12, 2023

“A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.” — Oscar Wilde

Money makes the world go around. From the dawn of money and market societies, we’ve increasingly viewed ideas of value through an economic lens, attempting to tie numbers to both objects and experiences.

This is exchange value — the worth of something based on its ability to be exchanged for other items or money.

But there’s another form of value that gets left out in the cold, that of experiential value. This is the pleasure or fulfillment we get from doing things irrespective of the cost, or indeed where there is often no cost at all.

For example, when you enjoy going for a swim on a hot day, sharing some laughs with friends, or taking in the fresh air with a walk through the woods, you get something that warms the soul without burning a hole in your pocket.

There is something immensely valuable in such activities that can’t — and shouldn’t — be encapsulated in an amount of dollars and cents. Though marketers and businesses will try to sell you experiences, in some cases money will only corrupt and ruin them.

Blood Markets



Sam Brinson

An emergent property of billions of chaotically firing neurons. Currently thinking about thinking. http://sambrinson.com/