Wine and Subjectivist Economics

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I realize it's Monday morning, but the opening line of this story intrigued me:

Wine and subjectivist economics go hand in glove. What does this mean? Well, subjectivist economics "…is based on the theory that the value of goods is not inherent in the goods themselves but is in the minds of acting men; that economic value is a matter of individual judgment which may vary from person to person and for the same person from time to time." In the case of wine, individual judgment can be impaired by intimidation (i.e., lack of knowledge) and ill-conceived notions. Certainly, you have heard statements such as "I don't drink white wines" or "red wines are just too dry for me." As wine enthusiasts, it is our objective to push you out of your comfort zone, encourage you to try something new, and explore the glorious world of wine.

More here.

Speaking of "the glorious world of wine," Reason's Kerry Howley plowed through a "Critique of Pure Reisling: Wine snobbery in an age of globalization" here.

Hat tip: Manny Klausner.

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  1. We live in a world where robotic wine tasters are being developed:
    http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7004376927

  2. I’m uncurious what subjectivist economics might be. Probably some misunderstanding.

    If people didn’t disagree on value, there would be no economy at all.

    Both sides profit in any voluntary transaction. That’s only possible if they disagree about the values of the things traded.

    Moreover, the more voluntary transactions there are, the higher the standard of living of the nation, because each one profits both sides.

    That, and not keeping ne’er do well youth off the streets, is why you want jobs and an economy.

    Involuntary transactions don’t have that property, by the way.

    Given that, what the hell could subjectivist economics be.

  3. I’m with Ron, “subjectivist economics” seems to me like “anyone with an understanding that the labor theory of value is bunk” or perhaps, more strictly, “Anything newer than the Rational Expectations revolution”.

  4. One Red Paperclip.

  5. Jason,
    It isn’t the paper clip, it’s the $100,000 worth of publicity.

  6. based on the theory that the value of goods is not inherent in the goods themselves but is in the minds of acting men

    Nothing mysterious here: it’s a restatement of the proposition that value is relative to the valuer: it’s subjective. Duh.

    If people didn’t disagree on value, there would be no economy at all

    ‘Disagree’ implies that there can be some sort of objective value in a good. Can anyone supply an example that would support that notion?

  7. I spent many years working in fine dining restaurants selling wine. The funny thing is, I don’t drink. I had no idea what any of those wines tasted like. The only wine I ever drank back when I wasn’t a teetotaller was your basic Rheinland table wine, wine known for its “chugability”.

    I was never once called on it. So, it seems to me that there may be a fair amount of subjectivity where the differences between wines is concerned.

    TWC should really weigh in on this one.

  8. They’re making a common mistake and confusing “extrinsic” value with “subjective” value. The value of a particular object will indeed vary from person to person, but it can quiet objectively measured in each case: the highest amount each is willing to pay for said item.

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