Because we live in a well-developed market economy (albeit heavily regulated), our financial decisions typically revolve, not around matters of life and death, but around more marginal choices. For this reason, many people in modern society fail to recognize the commensurability of economic values with such higher values as love or spiritual goals. As a consequence, many persons initially find it difficult to conceive how money might serve as an appropriate medium of restitution. Because of our relative prosperity and independence, we tend to lose sight of the fact that our economic well-being is also a value of the greatest significance, belonging on the same scale of ordinal measurement as all the other values for which we strive. The law of diminishing marginal utility (pp. 4.4:29-31), however, reminds us money and other economic values may rank far higher in other contexts. Indeed, under conditions of extreme scarcity, the fulfillment of material needs becomes absolutely essential to physical survival and hence to the realization of all our other needs.