Value-for-Value is not simply some utopian ideal. The idea can be implemented singly by any individual, particularly in place of requests for donations, and, as more and more people do so, it will gradually promote the production of more and better information choices than currently exist - once large numbers of people come to realize that each producer will produce more if s/he receives value for his/her efforts. And the amount of value someone receives in such a system is clearly indicative of how much the idea/information is valued in general at that particular time, thus providing the producer with both recognition and appreciation. Currently far too many people want to get as much as they possibly can for as little outlay of value as possible. It doesn't take much thought extrapolation to realize that, if large numbers of people were able to do this with impunity and actually did so, then the production of ideas, and the products and services that arise from those ideas, would cease. What keeps this collapse from happening is that governments use money taken from everyone to first institute and prosecute mostly arbitrary rules concerning ownership of intellectual property, and second, to give money to some people and organizations based on the values of those who do the deciding (politicians and bureaucrats) rather than the value of what those people and organizations produce as determined by those who appreciate their work. And so we have the politics of pull (influence peddling) and all the mess that goes with it.
Value-for-Value is one of many ideas that I and Paul have been writing about for several years now and we are convinced that ultimately it can totally replace the current methods of payment for ideas, information, services and products. We include reference to it on the bottom of each of our webpages:
So how, one might ask, is a reader of information to determine what value s/he has obtained from an article or webpage read? Imagine a cost which you would certainly not have paid for it. Suppose that is US$100, then imagine the cost had been 1/2 of that (ie US$50) and ask yourself if you would have paid that price. If yes, then imagine the price had been 1/2 way between that and the higher price which you already dismissed (ie US$75), and ask yourself again. If no at the US$50 price, then imagine a price 1/2 that (ie US$25) and ask yourself again. Continue in this manner (which is called a binary search) until you have reached the exact price that is the point at which, for any higher price, you would not have bought it. After a bit of practice, such an estimating process should be able to be done quite quickly to reach a sufficiently precise result.
Actually this is very close to what is called "price negotiation", "bargaining" or "haggling" and is widely practiced in many cultures. The difference is merely that this is "purchaser determined pricing" and takes place after the fact of obtaining the desired service - information from the creators of whatever web article or page having been read. You can also think of this as a kind of auction in which you are bidding with yourself.
Note however, that one of the major advantages of the Value-for-Value approach is that you have already had full use of that which you are evaluating and thus have a pretty good idea of its value to you, rather than having to make a buying/evaluation decision before gaining the knowledge of how it will actually work out and be valued by you once purchased and in use. Since the value of something to an individual may go up or down in time after the initial usage, the Value-for-Value approach can even be extended to additional return of value to the producer if one later realizes that the information/service/product was of even more value than that which one first returned. And vice-versa, if one sends value to the producer/creator and later realizes that one overvalued the information/service/product (but not simply because it was lost/stolen/damaged) then one should be able to request and get back some of the value already remitted.
My PayPal transfer to OpEdNews.com was a return of value for the value I have received from Rob's website in the past few months - a different outlet for my writings, though I haven't had time to do but a couple articles and a few comments. The writers and readers come with varying views and outlooks, and more than many places on the Internet have an opportunity to cross-pollinate their ideas. This is a value to me and I expect to all the other regular writers and readers of articles and comments. Therefore to the degree that each person obtains value from the information exchange on OpEdNews.com, s/he properly should, in his/her own best interest, return value to the owner of the site and the producer of the particular items of information assessed to be of value. This value exchange applies to every website dealing in information and the assessment of value received can be done by each reader of that website with value returned to the creator/provider of that information - Value-for-Value ... V4V!