paradox of value


Also found in: Wikipedia.

paradox of value

the proposition that the value (PRICE) of a good is determined by its relative scarcity rather than by its usefulness. Water is extremely useful and its TOTAL UTILITY is high but, because it is generally so abundant, its MARGINAL UTILITY (and, hence, price) is low. Diamonds, by contrast, are much less useful than water but their great scarcity makes their marginal utility (and, hence, price) high.