P1. As a college student paying their way through school; money is so crucial. It seems to be the focus of all my thoughts. How much money is in my account? How much am I getting paid this week? I’m constantly checking my TD bank app, memorizing the numbers. Every person over the age of eighteen thinks about money at least once throughout their day. How can we, as civilized beings, not revolve around such an essential part of living in this modern world? But we must ask ourselves what is money?
P2. Is money a crinkled stained piece of paper? Or is it a hefty limestone rock? Doesn’t the definition of money depend on an individual’s belief and culture? As Americans, we are raised around the mindset that the paper in your wallet and the number on a ATM slip of paper makes your worth. As we learn in “Island of Stone Money” by Milton Friedman the Yaps, a small island made of five to six thousand people their wealth is based around a large limestone rock in their possession. Yaps are pre-industrial people who used massive stone sculptures as currency, this currency is known as fei. They collected this limestone from an island several hundreds of miles away and brought it to their home land to be used as currency. The ownership and possession of the stone was known amongst the people. The importance was unquestioned.
P3. To some the concept of hefty unmoving stones used as currency may seem ridiculous. But when a financial crisis occurs we ask where did those millions and trillions of dollars go? “Invention of Money” broadcasted by Planet Money the idea of disappearing money is questioned. As logical people who understand million and trillion is a very large number we must question how did it disappear and who got it? The answer is that money was only a concept and never a tangible thing. Money doesn’t exist as a thing but rather an idea. Money isn’t solid and its value could disappear.
P4. What’s so different between a stone at the bottom of the ocean and a number from the ATM? Both we cannot see, we simply trust they’re present. We depend on the rock at the bottom of the sea and the printed numbers from the bank. We never can hold or even lay our eyes on such measurements of wealth yet we believe in them. We believe so blindly, that our own blindness is unknown to us. We were born blind to the emptiness of money. The power of money is only registered and fueled by our unyielding belief.
P5. With belief, the Brazilian people knew their money had value again. In “Invention of Money” we learn that with no hard proof, the people had to be tricked into believing. Virtual currency was created which was basically imaginary money. The idea of virtual currency was created because Brazil had such high inflation and the economy was almost impossible to fix. Four underdog economists created virtual currency in hopes that this would fix the economy. People trusted this knew currency, the fake money became real money when the people believed in it. This brought Brazil into the eighth largest economic country. From nothing to everything, all in the belief of this new money. This idea relied heavily on the publics belief. Without their belief in this new money the idea would crumble like all the other ideas.
P6. As human beings, we prefer to be able to explain things rather than cast them away as phenomenon or chance. When the Great Depression crumbled America most people wondered how this could happen. “The Invention of ‘The Economy’” teaches us that before the Great Depression the economy never existed. It wasn’t until the 20th century that the economy came into existence. The government started crunching numbers to figure out an official number for the value of goods and services within the nation’s year. This would be the national income. Soon enough everybody is talking about the economy. Something that had never existed before had now swept the nation and become something of great importance to every class in America. America soon wasn’t the only one keeping score. Eventually, other nations began calculating and measuring their wealth. Economy became a measuring tool for power and status. Which country was winning? Simply, check the economy.
P7. “Invention of Money” discusses in details that the Federal Reserve can create money out of nothing, can whip up pieces of paper and small coins, items that make the world go around. Federal Reserve is not a part of the government and doesn’t look to the government for any decisions. They decide every six weeks should there be more or less money in the US? More money which can mean more jobs and opportunities but also can mean high inflation. Less money can slow down the economy too much. This is a balancing act that if not done right can devastate. Federal Reserve gives money to banks in return for treasury bonds. Button pressing, that’s what it comes down too. Our money system is relied upon this magic trick. Magic of Central Banking is based on trust, without it Central Banking becomes nothing.
P8. Americans, Yaps and Brazilians are all on the same page. Americans believe in paper, Yaps believe in stones, and Brazilians in virtual currency. Each of these do not become currency without belief. We give meaning to our own currency’s. A dollar bill means nothing to the Yaps while the same goes for a large stone in America. And virtual currency would mean nothing without the Brazilians belief. Could we blame our belief or disintegrating belief on our economic status? If we believe our money is more than it currently is, would that change anything? I never knew anything about economics until this assignment. It’s quite alarming to see the differences in currency but mostly the interworking’s of currency. It reminds me of the Wizard of OZ and the great Wizard of Oz is nothing but one man hiding behind a curtain, pushing buttons. Millions out of mole hills. Money is what we make it. Money is both our rise and our fall.
Friedman, Milton. “The Island of Stone Money.” Diss. Hoover Institution, Stanford University, 1991.
“The Invention of Money.” 423: The Invention of Money. This Is American Life, WBEZ. Chicago. 7 Jan 2011.
Goldstein, Jacob. “The Invention Of ‘The Economy’.” NPR, NPR, 28 Feb. 2014, http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2014/02/28/283477546/the-invention-of-the-economy. Accessed 19 Sept. 2017.
3 thoughts on “Stone Money–todayistheday”
Cows and Chips. Purposeful Summary
You’ve asked for Feedback Please, todayistheday, so I’ve come here first. I’d love to know from you whether you found the advice about Cows and Chips (and about Purposeful Summary) useful, and whether it’s the sort of helpful writing instruction you were hoping for from this course. Please enlighten me either way.
A note about your first sentence before we begin. It says that money is a college student. I’m sure that’s not your intention.
Rephrase it and I’m sure you’ll see that it’s confusing to readers to hear that “Money is so crucial as a college student.” What you mean, of course, is that
At the beginning of Paragraph 6 (P6), you handle the “As phrase” correctly.
Rephrased, this one stays reasonable.
Thank you for your post, todayistheday. I will begin with some brief notes and return later for a more in-depth critique if you respond. Dialog is the best way to stay engaged and achieve your highest grade. I will always respond to students first before working on posts by students who do not engage.
WORD COUNT: On the money.
WORKS CITED: Check.
INFORMAL CITATION TECHNIQUE: Very fine.
You have a good handle on English grammar, todayistheday. Your essay is for the most part clean of errors, and the mistakes you do make are not basic. I’ll mention them since you appear to care about writing correctly.
Every, each, and one make your subject singular. They, them, and their are plural. Therefore, “Every person thinks about his money.” I know. That creates a gender problem, but there we are. The easiest solution is not to insist on the singular in the first place. “We all think about money. We’re obsessed with money. Americans are obsessed with money. Or: “Every person thinks about money.” Just not “EVERY person thinks about THEIR money.”
Another singular/plural disagreement. The paper makes your worth. The number makes your worth. But together, the paper AND the number MAKE your worth.
First, the past tense of broadcast is broadcast. I wish it were otherwise, but it’s not. After that, I find it hard to describe why your syntax ruins this sentence, but it’s not a legal sentence. It’s several sentences jammed together. Planet Money broadcast a show. The show contained an idea. The idea was questioned. My best guess is: In “Invention of Money,” the Planet Money team questioned the idea of disappearing money.
You must hate semicolons. So many times you could or should use them, you don’t. Good writers can get away with this, and you’re a good writer. But you do it so often, and so often you stretch the boundary of acceptability, that I’m calling you out on the practice. Accept the semicolon: Both we cannot see; we simply trust they’re present.
Probably an oversight: This idea relied heavily on the public’s belief.
Even careful readers will think the Great Depression crumbled. It didn’t. America crumbled. The Great Depression crumbled it. I get that now, but I needed to read the sentence a couple of times. To help us out, use the comma the sentence requires: When the Great Depression crumbled America, most people wondered how this could happen.
Passive where the Active is needed. Our money system relies upon this magic trick.
This is the same as the error in P1. Each is singular; your verb DO is plural. The fix is simple. Don’t insist on the singular. THESE do not become currency without belief.
STYLE: WAY too many rhetorical questions, todayistheday. You’re a good writer, so I won’t prohibit you from using them (though I would like to). Declarative sentences are guns writers aim at targets. Questions are loaded guns lying around on picnic tables. Rhetorical Questions are guns you invite your reader to wave around. They hand control of your essay to your reader, a known drunk who makes bad choices. I count twelve times you hand not just a loaded gun but also your car keys to this nutcase, making yourself an accessory to whatever happens next. Replace eight or ten of them with bold declarative claims that hit the target.
ARGUMENT DENSITY / INCORPORATING BACKGROUND: You depend on rhetorical skill and glibness rather than claims and evidence to carry your argument, todayistheday. Your perfect audience is yourself: the person who knows what you know and believes what you believe. That’s natural—we all convince ourselves—but doesn’t persuade OTHER readers. See if you would understand this argument if you were anyone other than todayistheday:
Readers unfamiliar with the “Invention of Money” broadcast will have no idea that the stones are stored outdoors, that they might stand before a Yap islander’s home, that they don’t change hands for every transaction. Readers won’t know what to make of your claims that “ownership and possession of the stone was known” or that “importance was unquestioned.” You and I know, because we both heard the broadcast. Read your other arguments with the same rigor and I think you’ll discover that naive readers will not know what you mean about the Brazilian real. They also won’t know you’re speaking metaphorically when you say that the economy didn’t exist before the Depression.
SECOND DRAFT: For your rewrite, engage the assistance of a friendly but critical reader. [I am such a reader, but I don’t count. You have no reason to trust me yet.] Without discussing the background first or during your conversation, get a first-time reader of your essay to explain TO YOU what the Yap, Federal Reserve, and Brazilian stories mean. Adjust your written explanations accordingly.
HOW TO PROCEED: You haven’t been formally assigned a rewrite for this essay yet. For now, if you want to make revisions for me to review, you can do it by simply editing this post. Drop me a Reply to engage the on-page conferencing process. Add your post to the Feedback Please category so I’ll know there’s new material for me to review.
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