Mind Over Money
Money is what makes the world go round; it is a valuable item that is worth so much since there is only a finite amount of it circulating. This idea has never been challenged in my mind until reading the various articles pertaining to this subject. Now, as if a one way window were destroyed in front of me, I am able to see the truth on the other side. Money having worth is a figment of the human imagination.
The people of Yap use gargantuan limestone boulders as money, which quite frankly sounded completely ludicrous to me. Money in my mind should always be able to be carried with you. The fact that there are gigantic pieces of money in their society baffled me, but once compared to our money in the U.S., my mindset began to skew from left to right. Our money can be represented through paper checks, plastic cards, and a special material we call bills. They leave large pieces of limestone at different locations and use them as a bartering tool just as we use paper, plastic, and bills. The paper and plastic of which Americans use as bartering tools are not actual forms of money. They are a gateway to using the money without it actually being present on the individuals person. This is much like the Yap’s and their gigantic limestone boulders located at various different locations around the island.
The people of Yap still have their limited number of limestone they consider precious to regulate how much the stone is worth for use of bartering, but American money is a little different. Gold originally was used as a bartering tool by many Western countries and later was represented by the bills we know today. The bills today however do not represent gold. This idea is very similar to that of Brazil. Brazil came up with this idea, because they had an inflation epidemic. The way used to correct the inflation issue was in fact genius. Using the legitimacy of the country to back the currency was clever, because the government did not need to worry about finding gold or limestone, but rather just focus on amount of money being exchanged. This showed me that money can be backed by anything as long as that anything had value. A country is a great example such a thing of great value.
Money does not have value because it just does like many people believe, but rather because everyone wants it. This idea can be translated to one of the newest forms of currency today, the bitcoin. Bitcoins still to this day do not make sense to me. It’s a made up currency not connected to any government or backed by gold. It is literally just a form of currency people agreed upon to barter created by an individual. For Places like Brazil or America to back their currency by their country made enough sense to not question it too much, but the thought that a legitimate form of currency could come from nothing with but an idea is insane.
Money is for lack of a better phrase, a figment of our imaginations. It only has value because everyone wants it. If no one wanted money, everyone would barter using another item or items. A million dollars is only valuable because everyone else in this country wants it to. If everyone had a million dollars, no one would think it was significant or strive for it for that matter. Due to this fact, the concept of currency having value only because people want it, is very unsettling. Any boat that can be tipped that easily is not a good one and should be replaced.
Friedman, Milton. “The Island of Stone Money.” Diss. Hoover Institution, Stanford University , 1991.
“The Invention of Stone Money.” 423: The Invention of Stone Money. This Is American Life, WBEZ. Chicago . 7 Jan. 2011.
Joffe-Walt, Chana . “How Fake Money Saved Brazil.” NPR.org. 4 Oct. 2010. 30 Jan. 2015. <http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2010/10/04/130329523/how-fake-money-saved-brazil>.
Renaut, Anne . “The bubble bursts on e-currency Bitcoin.” Yahoo.com. 13 Apr. 2013. 30 Jan. 2015. <https://sg.news.yahoo.com/bubble-bursts-e-currency-bitcoin-064913387–finance.html>.