The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Paying the price

There is the price that is indicated on the label. It’s a price that has been defined by someone. But how did they do it?

It depends.

There is no rule that enables us to define the real price.

The only thing we know is that something that is bought is worth more to the person than they pay for it.

The way someone determines what it is worth for them isn’t clear either.

What is of value is individual and often beyond the deal.

For one person it is incredibly important to wear their favorite brand, drink the wine from the country they prefer, or have an experience they brag about. All of these are somehow related to that person’s status and perception of it.

But this still doesn’t help us see the price something has. The one that is linked to our values, to the future we want for this planet, and to the way we want to live in our community. That is the price we would pay would we think about the value we attribute to something exceptional as much as the things we take for granted.

Where I live, a democracy, a functioning legal system, being protected by the state through the given infrastructure of police, fire brigades, and social security, or having the ease of garbage collection are taken for granted. It’s so normal, that people find it easy to complain about problems when they occur and expect things to be perfect. But what does it cost our system if people take things for granted and take it as a reason to expect more?

The Noma, rated the world’s best restaurant, might help us see the answer. As of 2024 it will close its doors and change its strategy. Working on that level of perfection or expectations has become an invitation for many to fly into Copenhagen and organize a stay around the opportunity to eat in that restaurant. Others fly in to work there as interns and accept to work there for free or at a low cost. Others invest a portion of their career there to learn in an exceptional restaurant and be able to say that they’ve worked there. The reputation and hard work made that possible. Everyone who participates contributes to accepting and defining the rules of the game. Playing by these rules is worth it for them. Sometimes, however, they discover that they didn’t know the rules and thus the price well enough or didn’t care enough to question them beforehand.

There is a tipping point from which expectations on scale and perfection don’t go well with sustainability.

That is where the ability to be grateful helps to see what good enough may be. But maybe also, how and why we are willing to invest in something that goes beyond sustainable.


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