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The Illusion of a "Standard" of Life

The Illusion of a "Standard" of Life
by Alex Merced

Government constantly uses the concept of a "standard" of life in justifying it's policies in the name of improving this standard. Can there really be a standard, this is only possible if you believe in objective values and that certain things all people will value the same cause of some sort of  intrinsic worth. The reality is every experience, good, service, etc. is subjectively valued so even if you standardized the resources available (which we know an unsustainable practice) you still have varying levels of quality of the life individuals from how they value their own lives. Individuals will all subjectively value those identical resources differently and subjectively value the experiences they get from them differently as well.

There is no way to standarized how people value goods and services, and there is not accurate way to measure these valuations much less aggregate them. The quality of someones life can be vary to low or high whether someone is rich, poor, or in whatever condition they are in it's realtive to their preferences and understanding of the world around them. With all this in mind, it's impossible to construct any policy that can truly create real value other than pushing arbritary numbers higher. On top of it, these numbers (statistics) don't quite capture the resources wasted now, or the resources that'll be lacking tomrrow cause of the artificial upward pressure put on these numbers by government. (such as GDP, College Enrollments, Construction Projects)

The only way for someone to improve the quality of their life isn't to push some imaginary floor of quality but to free a persons autonomy to pursue the things they value and prefer as long as it doesn't interfere with anyone elses ability to do the same in a direct manner (indirectly, every action can arguably affect everyone). So policy shouldn't be geared to improving a standard life that can't truly be measured but to pursue the liberty for individuals to try to find happiness.

I've seen poor and rich be misrable, and I've seen them both be joyous, and no government can replace the journey that is the one to fulfillment, self-discovery, and happiness.

Posted Apr 19 2010, 09:05 PM by Alex Merced