August, 1998

Assistant Editors

Rani Paul
Tim Walker

Table of Contents 

  • Introduction

    by Michael Benedikt

    [T]he papers in this volume tackle the subject of value at one or both of two levels: first, as the attribute of all things that defines them as "good" or "bad," and second, value as the attribute of all the things that make their way to the marketplace where they are weighed and compared in terms of price, benefit, efficiency, and so forth. . . .

  • Bourgeois Values

    by Dierdre McCloskey

    We have two ways of speaking about the virtues. Either an aristocratic way or a peasant way; either a pagan way or a Christian way; either the virtues of Odysseus or the virtues of St. Francis. The four classical virtues are prudence, temperance, justice, and courage, with the emphasis on courage. . . .

  • Metaphors of Value

    by Mark L. Johnson

    Every aspect of human experience is pervaded with value. This makes the concept of value itself one of the most complex and difficult notions that one could possible undertake to analyze. There is a huge literature on the subject, and there was even an area of philosophy called value theory. But, no longer. . . .

  • Ratio ex Machina: Value in Economics

    by Philip Mirowski

    It is all but impossible for a fin de siecle economist to talk in any cogent way about the concept of "value." First one has to wave away the nineteenth century musty odor of topics like "Theories of Value and Distribution" or "Der Naturliche Werthe" . . .

  • Values and Metaphors

    by Robert Kane

    Both Philip Mirowski and Mark Johnson have noted that "theories of value," or "value theory," were thriving industries among economists and philosophers respectively in the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries . . . Exactly why the search for a general theory of value died out--indeed why it came into existence at all during this period--speaks volumes about modern intellectual history. . . .

  • Thoreau and the Place of Economy

    by Philip Cafaro

    Whatever his original intentions, an important part of Thoreau's experiment at the pond turned out to involve answering basic economic questions: What is the best way to earn a living? How much time should I spend at it? How much food and fuel, and what kind of shelter, are necessary to live, and to live well? Thoreau believed that these questions were best posed and answered by individuals attending carefully to their own lives, rather than by reformers attending to institutions. . . .

  • Reflexivity as Evolution in Thoreau's Walden

    by Frederick Turner

    As Victor Turner points out, "experience" is a volatile word, as hard to contain within a single definition as an incandescent plasma, yet perhaps as productive if it can be controlled. Its antonyms indicate its range of meanings . . . In this essay I propose to examine what Henry David Thoreau meant by "experience"; it was one of his favorite words, and his thoughts upon it are, I believe, of interest not only to the literary reader but also to the anthropologist. . . .

  • More-than-ness

    by Stephen L. Ross

    For whatever purpose, to whatever ends, all living things share in a common effort, a common need, a common destiny, which is to rearrange the given world as both a common condition and mission of life. Existence requires more-than-ness. The universe is constantly rearranging itself to do just this. . . .

  • Three for Society: Households and Media in the Creation of 21st Century Communities

    by Jorge Reina Schement

    We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate.--Henry David Thoreau

    Thoreau's skepticism of the telegraph might strike us as preposterous, living as we do in the morning of the Information Age, but we too struggle to understand the implications of technological change. And just as in Thoreau's day, our focus continues to converge on home and household, community, and media. . . .

  • Gresham's Law and the Logic of Efficacy

    by Michael Benedikt

    Sir Thomas Gresham, 1519-1579, was a successful businessman and financial advisor to Queen Elizabeth I, whom he served as Royal Exchanger and as the ambassador to the Netherlands. Although Gresham's law--bad money drives out good money--was discovered earlier and was stated more clearly later, his was the wording by which we know the "law" today. . . . Occasionally, Gresham's Law is extended . . .

  • I Had an Un-hard Childhood . . .

    by James K. Galbraith

    I confess I had an un-hard childhood. The house I grew up in had a telephone booth off the front hall, papered with old covers from The New Yorker. The TV, which I'm sure was not there as late as the presidential election of 1960, when it eventually arrived, was in the basement and never emerged. . . .

  • Preservation of Values: A History of the Preservation and Re-use of Union Station and the Political and Economic Forces that Shaped It

    by C. Steven Lewis

    Union Station in Washington, DC is a national symbol. At its inception, it symbolized the power of the railroads. After World War II, it came to symbolize the declining fortunes of those same railroads as they lost prominence to the automobile. In the 1970s, it symbolized government ineptitude at coping with those changes. Now, it symbolizes the restoration and reuse of a beautiful structure, but as a mall which happens to have a train station in it. These phases occurred in response to certain technical, political, and economic transformations within American society. . . .

  • Cost vs. Investment: Architecture, Technical Knowledge, and the Socialization of Value

    by Paolo Tombesi

    Conventional images of practice credit the design of buildings to architects and their fellow consultant engineers. And to a large extent, given the extreme polarization of professional design markets, this type of project team reflects the working reality of most practitioners. But if one observes the building industry in its totality, it becomes evident that the structure for procuring the information used in design is much more articulated than what the simple pairing architect-engineer seems to suggest. . . .

11th issue of CAAD's Center Series