What resources have increasing marginal utility?

Most re­sources you might think to amass have de­creas­ing marginal util­ity: for ex­am­ple, a marginal ex­tra $1,000 means much more to you if you have $0 than if you have $100,000. That means you can safely ap­ply the 80-20 rule to most re­sources: you only need to get some of the re­source to get most of the benefits of hav­ing it.

At the most re­cent CFAR work­shop, Val ded­i­cated a class to ar­gu­ing that one re­source in par­tic­u­lar has in­creas­ing marginal util­ity, namely at­ten­tion. Ini­tially, efforts to free up your at­ten­tion have lit­tle effect: the differ­ence be­tween jug­gling 10 things and 9 things is pretty small. But once you’ve freed up most of your at­ten­tion, the effect is larger: the differ­ence be­tween jug­gling 2 things and 1 thing is huge. Val also ar­gued that be­cause of this funny prop­erty of at­ten­tion, most peo­ple likely un­der­value the value of free­ing up at­ten­tion by or­ders of mag­ni­tude.

Dur­ing a con­ver­sa­tion later in the work­shop I sug­gested an­other re­source that might have in­creas­ing marginal util­ity, namely trust. A so­ciety where peo­ple abide by con­tracts 80% of the time is not 80% as good as a so­ciety where peo­ple abide by con­tracts 100% of the time; most of the so­cietal value of trust (e.g. de­creas­ing trans­ac­tion costs) doesn’t seem to man­i­fest un­til peo­ple are pretty close to 100% trust­wor­thy. The analo­gous way to un­der­value trust is to ar­gue that e.g. cheat­ing on your spouse is not so bad, be­cause only one per­son gets hurt. But cheat­ing on spouses in gen­eral un­der­mines the trust that spouses should have in each other, and the cu­mu­la­tive im­pact of even 1% of spouses cheat­ing on the in­sti­tu­tion of mar­riage as a whole could be quite nega­tive. (Lots of things about the world make more sense from this per­spec­tive: for ex­am­ple, it seems like one of the main prac­ti­cal benefits of re­li­gion is that it fosters trust.)

What other re­sources have in­creas­ing marginal util­ity? How un­der­val­ued are they?