At the front of the conference was a whiteboard. The heading was ‘Value is Subjective’. It is not what they really meant and, as a statement, it causes confusion, because it is obviously wrong.
In the situation of a naked human in a snowstorm, a warm coat has objective value. Human bodies cannot long survive such conditions without some sort of covering. Air and water also have objective value. Without them, the body will soon die.
What that whiteboard statement was referring to is the quantification of value. What it should have stated was ‘Quantification of Value is Subjective’. Whenever a value is quantified, it becomes subjective.
That coat that has a high value in the snowstorm, will have less value in summer. For a nomad who has to carry it, it may reach zero value and be cast aside.
The value placed on water in the desert is likely far higher than what one would be prepared to pay when drowning in a river. The water that is drowning the person still has objective value, but he subjectively values it not at all – at that moment.
We live in a material universe with objective values. But, the amount of value that one places on anything is subjective.