How Alexander the Great Learned About Subjective Value

There once was a great and glorious king, named Alexander the Great. His enemies feared him and his people revered him. He wore the most expensive clothes and made love to the most beautiful women. He need only snap his fingers and one of his many servants would do his bidding. It was indeed, good to be king.

One day the mighty king was strolling through town, making an appearance. He shook hands and kissed babies. He asked his people what they wanted in order to gain favor. Many replied “We want clean water to drink!” That was easy enough to arrange. Others said “We want to have the splendid riches of our enemies!” That was a tall order, but still it was on the list of things to do. Then there were the crazy requests such as those who asked for the Moon to be a little closer. Alexander scratched his head and wondered at that one. he wasn’t sure how that was possible or how that would benefit anyone. But he agreed to do it. After all, he was Alexander the Great. They didn’t call him great for nothing.

Finally he chanced upon a beggar. Ha! A beggar. There was nothing he couldn’t do for this man, it would be easy to gain his favor. He walked up to the beggar and said “Worthless beggar, what can I, the king of this great land, do for you”.

The beggar squinted and looked up at Alexander the Great. “You can get out of my sunshine, thank you very much”

Alexander thought maybe he misheard him, “Excuse me? You want me to make the sun bigger?”

“Oh no, you misheard me. I said please step to the side you giant nit”

Alexander staggered. He had never been more insulted in his whole life! Who was this scum, this dirt of the dirt to insult him, the highest and most powerful man in all the land? Certainly he could crush the puny man with impunity. Alexander scoffed, “How dare you. I could have you killed for that. Now, since I am such a benevolent king, do tell me what it is I can do for you.”

“I don’t know how I can make this any more clear… MOVE.”

Alexander still flabbergasted did not move. He only uttered one word. “Beg.”

Diogenes the Cynic sighed heavily. “I know how confusing this all is, you think that because you’re rich and powerful that you can help people. That’s great, but I’m not a beggar. I am just a man of the earth, I have no desires except those that nature provides. As of now, all of my needs are met except one, and that is sunshine. I do not bow to any king. I am whole, and you are the rotten one.”

“What if I offered you my rings?”


“What if I offered you my robes?”


“What if I offered you my servants?”


“What if I offered you my women?”


“Really? What value can I provide you?”

“I told you, you can get out of my light.”

Alexander took one step to the right.

“Ahhhh,” said Diogenes

Alexander said to the man, “Your negotiating skills are phenomenal. I insist, you must come with me on my next military exploit as one of my top ambassadors.”


“Dammit man! You get your way again. You are the powerful and rich one if there is nothing I can offer you. You win at life, sir. You win.”