Defining Value in a World of Diamonds and Foxglove


Last week, Freakonomics published a podcast entitled, “Diamonds Are a Marriage Counselor’s Best Friend.” It’s a great podcast and I’d recommend a listen, as it features a great exploration of how couples make decisions about money in the context of marriage. In addition to that, however, it covers a topic which I think is absolutely fascinating: the history of the value (or lack thereof) of diamonds. I think the example of diamonds is very instructive towards how we think about meaning and significance for all of the goods in our lives, but interesting as a standalone story as well.

I’ve written about this previously, but I’d like to bring my words up again as I think it’s a discussion worth having. Regardless of whether or not you disagree with the diamond industry, I believe that it is helpful to develop an understanding of how you determine value in your own life.

The Llama and the Cow

Wild Foxglove in the Quinault Rainforest – Photo by Me

A few weeks ago, my parents came to visit me in Seattle.  It was great to see them again, hang out with some family friends, and spend some time exploring the Pacific Northwest.  Never having been to Washington before this summer, one of the things we wanted to do was check out the rainforests in the Olympic Peninsula.  We settled on going for about a 5 mile hike in Quinault, since it was the easiest of the Olympic’s three rainforests to get to. Unfortunately, Quinault was a little bit disappointing.  There were fallen trees everywhere. So, instead of the shady canopy I had been expecting, we were met with fairly regular sunlight.  (It turns out that the area was hit with hurricane force winds in 2007, which was probably the source for many of the fallen trees we saw)

It…

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