Another thought from The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet by Benjamin Hoff (ISBN 0-416-19526-1):

“[Although] we live in what is commonly described as a Materialistic Society … ours is in reality an Abstract Value society – one in which things are not appreciated for what they are so much as for what they represent.”

So why is Abstract Value so attractive? I reckon it is because Abstract Value can be created and manipulated – especially via advertising and the media. Abstract Value is what scams and crazes are built upon.

Witness the current craze over Goji berry juice. It is an example of how the Abstract Value of something can be created out of thin air and sold to unsuspecting buyers. Oh yes, and let's not forget all the associated "business opportunities" so you too can get on the snake oil bandwagon. (The consumer watchdog Choice has requested the intervention of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and State food and health authorities on this craze.)

The “problem” with Material Value is that it is far more real. If we truly appreciate the Material Value of “stuff”, a car would just be a car and not a substitute for self esteem; fruit juice would just be fruit juice and not some magical cure-all.