Thinking Citizen Blog — Productivity, Utility, and Value versus Money, Sex, and Power

Thinking Citizen Blog — Tuesday is Economics, Finance, and Business Day

Today’s topic — Productivity, Utility, and Value versus Money, Sex, and Power

The language of economics confuses most people. Definitions of key words like productivity, utility, and value are incomprehensible to non-experts. Money, sex, and power are terms that don’t have this problem. Most discussions of economics focus on the money part of the utility or value triad. But not a few humans value the other two at least as high as money. In fact, it might be fair to say that for many money is just a way of getting more of the other two. Today, a few related reflections. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

FOOD, FUN, FRIENDS — utility triad #1

1. My observation in life is that many eat to live, but others live to eat.

2. Similarly, for others it's all about hanging out with friends.

3. For others, it’s all about having fun. For some, this means jumping out of airplanes or off cliffs. For others, it means watching sitcoms, sports, or detective shows on a comfortable couch. For others, it’s all about working out.


  1. For others it’s all about reading books.

2. Or collecting butterflies, beetles, or rocks.

3. Or about gazing at the sun, moon, planets, and stars.


1. For others, it’s all about family. A full-time job.

2. For others, community service, making the world a better place by helping one person at a time.

3. For others, it’s abot being part of a broader movement with wide and expanding visions of structural change.

Surprise! Three triads make a three by three matrix! Call it the utility matrix!

Reminder: to me, the three by three matrix is the perfect metaphor for critical thinking. What three things matter most? For what three reasons? What are the three most important concepts? What are the three best examples of each? Do you remember the Principles, Facts, and Solutions matrix? If not, check the links below.


Matrices | Liberal Arts Academy

The Thematic Matrix | Liberal Arts Academy

The Seven Disciplines of World Citizenship | Liberal Arts Academy

Gun Control | Liberal Arts AcademyEconomics | Liberal Arts AcademyThematic Matrices



Value (economics)

Theory of value (economics)

YOUR TURN — Please share:

a.) the coolest thing you learned this week related to business, economics, finance.

b.) the coolest thing you learned in your life related to business, economics, finance.

c.) anything at all related to business, economics, finance.

d.) anything at all