In his book The Origin of Wealth, Eric D. Beinhocker says that
A pattern of matter, energy, and/or information has economic value if the following three conditions are jointly met:
- Irreversibility: All value-creating economic transformations and transactions are thermodynamically irreversible.
- Entropy: All value-creating economic transformations and transactions reduce entropy locally within the economic system, while increasing entropy globally.
- Fitness: All value-creating economic transformations and transactions produce artifacts and/or actions that are fit for human purposes.
These conditions seems pretty logical for me, particularly the "fitness" thing. However, I wonder about the "irreversibility" part: it sounds logical to state that, say, once a tree is transformed into a chair it cannot be turned into a tree again; so, making a chair is clearly irreversible. In the same vein, if a barber cut the hair of someone, he or she can not "uncut" it - irreversibility, of course.
But what if I was a doorman? My job would be to open a door for the others the whole day, which is a service that many people value to some extent, i.e., I would be creating some value in the economic sense of the term, right? But I can close the door as easily as I can open it, so it is something clearly reversible. Thus, it seems obvious I may do something "reversible" that is valued by someone - should I conclude Beinhocker is wrong or - I as suspect - I am missing something?