SUMMARY: I calculated that the value of an hour spent with a friend, in Canada, is: $679.84.
Nattavudh Powdthavee of the University of London similarly presents in a research paper that the quality of friendships is worth upto £85,000 ($143,000 Canadian) per capita annually!
As someone who has studied Economics at university – I carried out 40 plus experiments over past 10 years, since 2007, to determine the ideal model of economy. The truth, as I learnt, is simple but obscured by complexities:
Friendship bonds act in EXACTLY the same way as the Treasury bonds money is based on. Here is a comparison between the two modalities:
Investment > Treasury bond > Interest.
Gifting > Friendship bond > Goodwill.
Gifting can take many forms, it doesn’t necessarily have to be monetary. You can gift:
a) a COMPLIMENT,
b) your MANNER (such as smiling),
c) your APPRECIATION (e.g. sharing the same interest as someone else),
d) your SKILL (making music, or speaking well on topics etc),
e) your STYLE (fashion etc),
f) a PRODUCT,
g) your TIME,
h) your MONEY.
When one engages someone socially, and gifts them in this manner, a Friendship bond forms. According to “Friendship Doctor” Dr. Irene S. Levine, most Friendships – on average – last 7 years.
So, a Friendship bond matures in 7 years on average. Treasury bonds, that money is based on, mature in 3 months! (On maturity you get back the investment into a Treasury bond. Similarly, with a Friendship bond you get your gifts back over the 7 year length of a Friendship bond – but you cultivate trust).
Divide 7 years by 3 months and you realize that a Friendship bond is 28 times more valuable than a 3-month Treasury bond (the longer the maturity of a bond, the higher its value/price).
What does that mean in plain terms? Since an hour spent at work is worth $24.28 in Canada in December 2016, an hour spent with a friend is worth $679.84!
Aside from the enjoyment aspect of Friendship, just think about all the money you save (suppose a friend helps you move). All the money you spend on the economy due to friendships, such as at restaurants. And all the things you buy because they were recommended by your friend: a bike, a cottage, a cellphone. This is part of the reason why the value of Friendship is so high!
Here is what you won’t learn in Economics 101 at university: Partying is the oldest form of a “market”. At a party, Friendship bonds are traded instead of “Treasury bonds”. Sweet words are your “Investment”. Goodwill is earned instead of “Interest”.
Remember, Goodwill is an asset even more liquid than Cash (Interest)! Goodwill can be used to pay for products and services. Friendship creates cooperation and barter, which displace the need for money.
The present era will see the rise of Social Professionals – instead of Business Professionals. Social Professionals are individuals who act as a hub for networking friends. If my friend Jane’s car breaks down, and I know another friend Ahmed who can fix it ’cause he owes me one – then I will direct Ahmed to help Jane and in the process Jane and Ahmed become friends too, adding further value to the economy. Jane will also then be willing to help me or another friend of mine because I was there for her in her hour of need!
Money will increasingly become just a rating tool, to provide feedback to a friend how nice their gift was – and it will be as freely available as the Like button on Facebook. But such an economy has to be underpinned by Friendship bonds – for which there needs to be way way more partying!
[Note: In our calculation of the Friendship bond, we excluded Family relationships which last a lifetime as we assume their worth is cancelled out by the Negative relationships one encounters in their lifetime; such as exes, divorces, bad employers, bad political leaders one has to deal with. What a Family lacks in power, is made up by proximity – to cancel out big negative relationships.
Friendship bonds are taken as a mean indicator of social relationships: such as more good employers/political leaders than bad. Indeed, it would not be possible for Friendships to last 7 years on average if negative social relationships exceeded positive social relationships in the world. Infact, if negative social relationships exceeded positive then everyone would be suspicious of one another, regarding others as enemies. Friendship bonds wouldn’t exist, even online].