The Value reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Apr-2004
(provided by Fixed Reference: snapshots of Wikipedia from


Get the latest news from Africa

Value is a term expressing an idea of worth or quality. In a more general sense, a value is a belief or an attitude towards something. The word value has different meanings in many different fields.

Table of contents
1 Marketing
2 Economics
3 Computer science
4 Mathematics
5 Personal and cultural values


In marketing, the value of a product is the consumer's expectations of product quality in relation to the actual amount paid for it. It is often expressed as the equation:

Value = Quality received / Price
or alternatively:
Value = Quality received / Expectations


In economics, the value of an object or service is the price it would bring in a fair, open market; the item's "buying power".

Intrinsic value is value which is inherent in an object: A gold coin has intrinsic value because of the gold it contains. Even if its issuing authority (such as a government) were to fail to honor the coin's value, it would retain the its properties that make it valuable, such as being shiny, malleble, and pretty.

Extrinsic value is value which arises because of an agreement: Although the intrinsic value of a €100 note is not much more than the value of any similar piece of paper with a pretty picture on it, it has a practical value (an extrinsic value) of €100. If its issuing authority were to fail to honor the note's value, it would soon become nearly worthless. This happened recently with the Argentinian peso.

However the lack of support from an issuing authority does not guarantee the collapse in value of such paper currency. A recent example from Iraq illustrates the point. Following the American invasion of 2003 the government of Saddam Hussein was deposed. The Iraqi Dinar was without the support of an issuing authority and the Americans specifically and publicly stated that they would not guarantee the value of the Iraqi Dinar. However despite this fact the Iraqi Dinar rapidly appreciated in international markets and nearly double in value in less than a week, despite being an historically soft currency. Scarcity is frequently a sufficient quality to ensure continued market or even improved market value.

See also: Anthropological theories of value for a more general discussion of economic value.

Computer science

In computer science, a value may be a number, literal string, array and anything that can be treated as if it were a number. The exact definition of a value varies across programming languages. For more, see value (computer science).


In mathematics, a value is a quantitative value - a constant (number), or a variable.

Personal and cultural values

Each individual has a set of beliefs and ideas about general concepts that are called values. They describe how much value a person places on various ideas, objects, or beliefs. Societies have values that are shared between many of the participants in that culture.

The study of personal and cultural values is typically called axiology. These values can be grouped into four categories: