Money usually has inflation tied to it, but is there a product that has stayed around the same value world wide for a very long time, and probably will for a very long time as well (something like 100 years into the future?)

I'm talking about a product like coffee beans, or bananas, something that for instance you could always buy the same amount with an hour of minimum wage, regardless of the time period, something that has always kept its relatively same value, Any ideas?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Hello there, and welcome. What's the underlying problem that you are trying to solve? That is, what will you do with the answer? $\endgroup$
    – 410 gone
    Commented Sep 19, 2018 at 9:02
  • $\begingroup$ I'd say all normal goods like coffee beans and bananas have and always will be dependent on supply, demand, transport costs, production technology etc., which are all changing over time. Therefore I'd think about some goods traditionally labeled as free, such as air or sunshine. Not sure however whether that helps you. $\endgroup$
    – E. Sommer
    Commented Sep 19, 2018 at 10:59
  • $\begingroup$ I'm trying to create a product that will be the same value regardless of inflation, and base it off of some other product. I.e. I'm trying to set in stone the value, so instead of saying this product costs 7.99 (which would be much less valuable in the future, I'm trying to say, this product will always cost about four bananas worth, which may be 7.99 today, but 20 dollars, 40 years from now, but still has the same value as today. $\endgroup$
    – adangert
    Commented Sep 19, 2018 at 17:40
  • $\begingroup$ @adangert - But if the value of bananas or coffe beans change in different directions or amounts, then your product will only value the same amount of bananas if it values a different amount of coffe beans, and conversely. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 11:25

3 Answers 3


No, there is no such product.

"Value" is a historical construct; it only exists where products are made to be sold as commodities. When there was no production of commodities, products had no value. If we reshape our societies so that we no longer produce things as commodities, there will no longer be value.

Even as long as products are commodities, their value necessarily changes. In Marxist terms, productivity of labour changes (increasing in the long term, with technological progress, but flutuating on the short term), so the labour time necessary to produce any given commodity isn't fixed, and neither is value. In neoclassic terms, the utility of products necessarily changes with technological progress: things that were useful become obsolete and lose value, things that had no use become important for new productive processes, and acquire value.

Of course, the value of some commodities is more stable than the value of others. Gold has always been very expensive, while aluminium was very expensive but become very cheap due to new productive processes. It is reasonable to believe that gold, as long as it has any use value, will always be expensive: there are limited reserves of gold, and gold cannot be created by transformative processes. But even here, fluctuation is the norm: gold became much cheaper, though still very expensive, in the 16th century, due to New World mines.

In short, you won't find any product that has had a stable value since the inception of commodity production. And we won't be able to make accurate predicions of the future value of any commodity, because technological progress is unpredictable - even if we assume that commodity production will be the form of economical activity until the end of times - which is far from given.



Since value is usually measured and communicated in measures of money, gold or other finite resource, then this question can only have as an answer priceless things.

Life is not a product though, so not sure if this answer will be accepted.

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    $\begingroup$ We routinely quantify life in terms of money. Specifically, we price value of lost years of life, for cost-benefit analyses for policies that change those. $\endgroup$
    – 410 gone
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 12:42
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, we do. The question was, in my view, about relative value (or the price as a measure of 1h of work, for example). Whilst several pricings of value exist, particularly by insurers and in the justice system, one can say that a human life was, is, and will continue to be among the most valuable assets one can measure. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 20, 2018 at 14:30
  • $\begingroup$ Indeed, but its value is far from constant in any economic frame that I know of. $\endgroup$
    – 410 gone
    Commented Oct 20, 2018 at 16:53

Where labour power exists it has had a stable “value,” in that it is the only commodity that all other commodities could be reduced to in value flow terms. The politically contingent definition of the price of actual living labour, the normalisation of different hours and exertions and family sizes not withstanding, all commodities can find a momentary reflection through the price or average socially necessary labour power.

This is somewhat of a cheat but it means that we can use production worker compensation as a useful stable measure in capitalisms, knowing that the subjectivity imported will be the political-economic state of the class war of the past.

This is superior to even the most sensitive CPI commodity bundling which will represent the subjective political balance of statisticians of the day or later. GDP and GDP/cap have an obvious price of money problem and are only really good for projects representing “a proportion of total social exertion.”

No price series is valid before the generalisation of commodity subsistence, wage labour and capital.


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