Walker's experiment reminds us in a clear and extremely tangible way how the concept of value works in the human brain: a can opener is a can opener is a can opener until it is a can opener designed by Michael Graves and a part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. A shoe is a shoe is a shoe until it is a pair of TOMS shoes. For every pair that I buy a child who has never been able to afford shoes gets a free pair as well. Suddenly, these objects are part of an inspiring narrative — one that I can use to reveal something meaningful about myself to others. That's something I am willing to pay for.
Great anecdotes from Ty Montague. Read the book "True Story", by the way. It's worth it.