How do you answer the simple yet difficult question, what is money? Growing up I money was what you needed to do everything and anything. I always thought money was worth so much! I would ask my popop for dollars all the time and I thought I was rich! Then I realized my poppop had other kinds of dollars with larger numbers and I was confused as to why some things could be one or two dollars and something else could be five or ten and so on. As a little kid I would run around with the dollar showing everyone what I had received and then someone told me to save it so I could start a college fund. Confused, I said okay and put the dollar somewhere safe, not know that that dollar would decrease in value every day.
Now if you were to ask me that same question now, I would answer. Well the definition of money is a current medium of exchange in the form of coins and banknotes collectively. But how can that be true if we have things such as credit cards and electronic banking? In the stonemoneyessay.pdf it states “A noteworthy feature of this stone currency … is that it is not necessary for it’s owner to reduce it for possession. After completing a bargain which involves the price of a fei to large to be conveniently moved, it’s new owner is quite content to accept the bare acknowledgment without so much as a mark to indicate the exchange, the coin remains undisturbed on the former owner’s premises.” But how can that money have a new owner if the old owner still technically owns it?
For example, again as it states in stoneymoneyessay.pdf “When the German received ownership of the Caroline Islands, after the purchase of them from Spain in 1898 many of the paths and highways were in bad condition and the chiefs of the many districts were told that they have them repaired and put in good order. Coral was good for the natives and many were the repetitions of the command, which still remained unheated. At last it was decided to impose a fine of disobedience on the chiefs of the districts… The fine was extracted by sending a man to every failu and pabai throughout the disobedient districts, where he simply marked a number on the most valuable fei with a cross in black paint to show that the stones were owned by the government. This worked like a charm and the people thus dolefully impoverished… Then the government dispatched its agents and erased the cross and the fine is paid.
Stone money and numbers in your bank account are the exact same thing. Just because you do not have that money in your sight or touch doesn’t mean that that money is not yours. As long as everyone knows that you are now the rightful owner of the stone it is yours.
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/sections/money/2010/10/04/130329523/how-fake-money-saved-brazil?gt=