How to say "物有所值" in English?
Value for money.
Goods or services are considered to be good value for money if their quality is good considering the price you've paid for them. It's the same as saying, simply, they are good value.
If the opposite is true, they are bad/poor value.
I paid 298 yuan for a Liverpool FC (Football Club) T-shirt the other day just for the few small words printed on the lower back of it - You Will Never Walk Alone, the chant of The Reds supporter. These words are why I consider my purchase to be value for money. Without those words, I would not have paid that price for a red T-shirt made of cotton.
You see, whether something is value for money or not is an arbitrary decision, a judgment subjective to the taste and mood of an individual. A friend of mine, for example, while feasting upon a Peking Duck at an expensive restaurant, kept going on about how the onion used for dressings tasted good. The onion "must be from Shandong," he said. "It's not hot and smoky, not irritating at all. Quite unlike the local onion, this is sweet." I had a feeling that if not for the onion, which might or might not be from Shandong (nobody cared to further investigate), he could have deemed the roasted duck poor value, considering how little meat he ate. If not for the onion, I guess he would have eaten even less.
On the other hand, I've always considered the roads and pavements in my office area to be poor value. They are being re-paved again as part of the collective dress-up in the run-up to 2008. Obviously if the old roads were value for money, they would not have been re-paved over and over and over again in the past 10 years.
I admit, though, that this is a private thought - I am perhaps thinking too much about the tax payer's money. I'm sure contractors will disagree with my assessment, no? I think they'll disagree - perhaps they also have been thinking too much about the tax payer's money.
Anyways, here are two media examples on "value for money":
From the Daily Telegraph website (Do we get good value for money from our MPs? June 15, 2007):
MPs have been ordered to disclose how much taxpayers' money they spend on their mortgages, hotel bills, groceries and cleaners. The House of Commons has been told to publish a breakdown of how each MP spends their "additional costs allowance", allocated to cover the costs of running a second home or staying away overnight on parliamentary business.
This year it is worth up to ?23,983 and can cover such expenses as mortgage costs, hotels, food, service charges, utilities, telecoms bills, furnishings, service charges, cleaning, insurance and security.
Do we get good value for money from our MPs? Is it reasonable for MPs, who are paid a salary of ?60,675, to receive such a generous allowance towards their expenses? Should there be restrictions on what they are allowed to spend it on? While security for high profile figures may be an essential, do you think it is fair for taxpayers' money to be spent on the luxury of a cleaner?
From the Economist online (July 18, 2007):
Value for money
AMERICA spends more on health than any other rich country-total public and private expenditure amounted to a huge 15.3% of GDP in 2005, according to the OECD's annual health report published on Wednesday July 18th. This is well above the 30-country OECD average of 9%. South Korea spends least, at 6%. But, higher spending won't necessarily mean a longer life. It may seem like hair-splitting to quibble over a few years, but life expectancy in most other rich countries is higher than America's 77.8 years. For instance, Japan spends 8% of GDP on health and has a life expectancy of 82.