The Price of Everything
The Price of Everything, a book by Eduardo Porter is about finding the true value of things that don’t exactly have a price tag.
The book has an observational stance and different points of view are presented. It’s up to the readers to make up their own mind about what’s really valuable and what’s not. This is the whole point of the book, the fact that personal perspective plays a big role in decision making and cost/benefit analysis.
Porter is interested in more than factoids. Most of his attention is devoted to teasing out the rationale underlying the “cold accounting” that determines the value of things people think are priceless, like human life and national security. What he relates has unmistakable urgency. How much should we spend today to address environmental problems that may be more cheaply tackled by future generations, especially given the number of development projects that clamor for financing now? Should we even attempt to protect against risks that would be more costly to prevent than the damage they would cause?
At a time of seemingly proliferating risks, Porter’s searching book is a welcome reminder of the necessity of prudent decision making. “The truth is,” he writes, “we can’t afford it all.”