A False Concept of Value

Just a quickie today.

I love to browse Craigslist for musical instrument.  OK, guitars.  I’ve bought several over the years–it’s a nice way to try things out to see if you like an instrument.  My Craviola was a CL purchase, and I’m very glad to own it.

This morning I was on CL looking at guitars (not to buy; I’m full up at the moment) and this line caught my eye:

“Given their limited run, these guitars are very rare and are likely to increase in value going forward.”

You know what?  That’s a really bad reason to buy a guitar.

I see the same sort of thing in lots of places.  It’s fairly rare with respect to electronic devices (because, you know, electronics) but common with musical instruments, bicycles, artwork (especially).  That’s the notion that whatever it is you’re buying, it’s an investment.

That’s one kind of value.  It’s based on the notion of owning now, selling later.  But I think it’s a poor one, and not only because it’s speculative (nobody knows what the future will bring).

Another kind of value is use value.  That’s the notion that the value of something is what it imparts to you while you own/use it, not in some future transaction.

Obviously, I prefer the latter notion of value.

It militates against buying things for their investment potential, and against buying things that we don’t need or really want.

I suppose that if I was a stockbroker I might feel differently…but what good is a bicycle that I don’t ride?

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