What was the value of Oscar Wilde?

“What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
And a sentimentalist, my dear Darlington, is a man who sees an absurd value in everything, and doesn’t know the market place of any single thing.”

Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan

Others have suggested that it applies to economists – unkind perhaps?

George Monbiot debated the efficacy of valuing ecosystem services with Tony Juniper in an exchange in the Guardian in August  last year.

Monbiot argued that payments for ‘ecosystem services’ look like the prelude to the greatest privatisation since enclosure. Read more

Tony Juniper countered that campaigning against economic valuations could inadvertently strengthen the hand of those who believe nature has little or no worth. Read more

I think it is a bit more complicated than that and that circumstances alter cases.

Oscar Wilde was a sharp thinker. We probably need more Wordsworths – look what the romantics did for the Lake District


I WANDERED lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

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