We are familiar with Oscar Wilde's put-down of a man who knew the price of everything and the value of nothing. It is the valuation question, rather than economic pricing of measurable costs and benefits, that causes much trouble when ecosystem disturbances must be assessed. Concepts of utility, while very helpful in applied systems analysis, leave us shorthanded when we confront value-heavy problems of choice. What is the worth of the Jackson magnolia on the White House grounds? Value is in the eye of the beholder; and, to make matters even worse, its texture and properties are changing continually, relative to variables of time, circumstance, and ethos.