Listening to the Stone Money story in class, I said to myself, my professor sounded silly for telling us a story about an Island called the Yap Island. He said on the Yap island the payment or the object that held each persons’ wealth was through many big limestones. I wondered how in the world is a huge stone used as payment. As I kept on hearing what my professor said I was beginning to think this class is gonna be strange however I looked at the assignments he assigned and began to read article The Island of Stone Money I was surprised about what he said was true. I never thought this sort of trade or payment would have ever existed. Even though the stone could not be moved and would have to stay in one spot for all eternity it was still used to pay people and when the stone was not yours anymore it would still remain where it was placed. Which I found was pretty weird. Now I wonder how the limestone and the electronic bank balance are both considered money but people do not see it that way because these payments are in both different eras which has advanced because of technology and has evolved around money.
I opened up the story The Island of Stone Money by Milton Friedman an article explaining how stone money became to be and how physically impossible it must have been to move all those stones from 400 miles away with a raft. In Friedman’s article he explains how impossible it is to moved stones from one small island to another. Especially for the people living on the island to move those big rocks without any advanced technology. Other than the transportation, Friedman explains that the stones were the first form of payment on the island, he also tells us that the German government bought the Caroline Islands from Spain. However they wanted to improve the roads because the island was run down but they realized that the natives saw money as stones. So the Germans told the people that they were taking the stones by marking an X with paint and that they could have it back if they would be their workers. The people agreed and worked until it was finished, in return the Germans rubbed off the paint and gave it back to the natives. My thoughts of reading the German’s experience was funny because stones are stones not money. However if you think about money, before money was credit/debit cards or paper slips they were stones. During the decades and centuries the appearance of currency has changed and keeps changing. We use to use cows and land as payments. It is odd to think of how different our “money” was back then but we will probably say that when the future is upon us too.
Reading the last two articles about the stones and currencies I had an understanding of what was used as a replacement. It is very odd but it worked the system was working and people had money and were able to make compromises. I began to read How Fake Money Saved Brazil the next article about the Brazil real. It said that in the 1950’s Brazil was in a deep economic crisis and inflation moving up higher than eighty percent. For example if the price of a pair of sunglasses were ten bucks this month, the next month it would double and keep doubling every month until the sixth month it would be worth around three hundred dollars. Brazil’s presidents were no help to the economy they just made matters worse. Their plan was to freeze the prices so that it would not be so expensive for customers to get their items. Though, it did not work, the store owners were not willing to sell their merchandise at a low cost because that meant they were losing so they hid everything until the prices were to unfreeze and go up again. Luckily four graduates figured out a way to bring the economy out of inflation. The four friends came up with the idea of making a virtual currency that would be called Unit of real value (URV) this would let people know that this new “fake” currency was dependable and safe to use. (Chana Joffe-Walt, 2010) The new currency helped inflation drop and everything was now affordable. After six months the inflation that was around eighty percent dropped to being even and equaling to a dollar. Once the economy was running smoothly Brazil made the real the official currency. Reading about the reals made me feel concerned about all the lies that there is “real money”.
Money in my opinion is considered as a substitute for trade of some goods and I have always questioned myself about money and what do we have it? Why can’t anything just be free? Before the system was even available everything was free until what I believe is that people started wanting some reward for the hard work they did. From that point the trade and some sort of payment was created. I understand that if everything were to be free, people would stop working because after a long day they would want some sort of payment. In today’s world people work to get paid. From payment many creations are made for example, money made the world turn to a more advanced technology era where we have touch screen cell phones, high speed computers, machines to determine if you have a certain disease and specialized fields like doctors. Now if you think about money, sure it is real and money is somewhat fake but it’s a lie that moved the world forward, it made it a goal for all students who are willing to go to college and be a profession to study because one day they will make loads of money to have fun with and at the same time keep the world moving in a better direction.
Friedman, Milton. “The Island of Stone Money.” Diss. Hoover Institution, Stanford University , 1991.
Joffe-Walt, Chana . “How Fake Money Saved Brazil.” NPR.org. 4 Oct. 2010. 30 Sept. 2017. <http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2010/10/04/130329523/how-fake-money-saved-brazil>
“The Invention of Stone Money.” 423: The Invention of Stone Money. This Is American Life, WBEZ. Chicago . 7 Jan. 2011.