Comment: Absolutely. It's in the eye of the beholder

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Absolutely. It's in the eye of the beholder

But just like different people can value something different...

People can also learn multiple ways to gain a benefit.

People used to highly value home stereos. Then some of that value switched to Walkmans. Then to CD players. Then to Ipods. What is the current value of the walkman? It's virtually zero. People didn't realize it but what they really valued was music on the go in a convenient manner.

Regarding my helium example elsewhere, people value floating, pretty objects. They don't care one bit (except those that inhale the helium for enjoyment) what makes it float. When someone replaces a helium filled balloon with some other party style fad, people won't value helium as much. If peer pressure was present because it was publicly known that the world's helium supply was low, value would be even less to the partier. Obviously, this means that if demand didn't drop more than the apparent supply was dropping, price (and real value) of the gas would go up.

Other waste we have built into today's society is everywhere! We waste around 90% of the energy available in coal, NG, nuclear, oil just to light some pixels on your screen. We waste energy, resources and money on packaging everything in kid-proof, safety, air-tight, ad-based instant trash. We print everything of any importance (very subjective) out on paper and then toss it in the trash in 1 day, 1 month, 1 decade or 1 century. Doesn't matter when because the point is we keep printing. We have 4,000-8,000 lb F-750 global warmers haul a 150 lb person to the convenience store for chips, accelerating and stopping at each corner, each way. We could have a high efficiency mass transit system travel only one way to deliver those chips to us in 1/4th the time, using as little as 2% of the resources and arguably NO energy. But we're too brainwashed by the media and car ads to consider that viable.

I audited a university campus utility plant on energy once. I told them they could produce 29% more energy for the same resources and save 65% on cost by automating just the stuff I've personally automated before. This was met with incredulous disbelief and complete dismissal even before they read any details. The ended up replacing thousands of dollars worth of new fluorescent lights with HPS ones. .... to light areas that got used maybe 3 times per year. That's all.