Gold, Silver, And Your Word Are Money

Just wanted to write something ( brutal day outside, wet/windy/icy cold rain, and sun?) about the concept of ‘money’, because I don’t think very many people understand what money is, or how it comes to play in the calculation of wealth, power, and influence.

Money is hard to come by. There’s very little of it around and not enough to spread evenly in a market economy. When there isn’t enough money, people barter. Trade has been around a lot longer than money.

Money is transferable, durable, maintains it’s worth, fractional, and some other thing… Aristotle spelled it out. Convenience, I think.

A sculpture can have worth, but it’s not fractional, so it’s not money. Wheat is fractional, but it is not durable. Steel is durable, but it’s a pain to transfer. Real estate isn’t money, because the value fluctuates.

In the past, shells have been used. Beads, bulbs, and furs have been used. Shells don’t work if you live near the ocean, only in the prairies. Beads are subjective. Bulbs depend on the weather. Furs deplete the animal population. Diamonds and gemstones have been used, but they’re hard to measure and you need a diamond expert to vouch for your trade. Wood, water, silk, and spices, all have been tried as money. Oil has been used, but the supply is indeterminate. Even people have been used in transferable trade.

Brass isn’t money, because anyone can make their own. We’d all have brass factories. Imagine pumping out your own money? Aluminum is too abundant. Uranium is too hot. Most of the other elements can’t be contained in a form that meets the criteria for money.

OK, here’s what you already know… as an element, gold and silver are somewhat rare, with a small amount replenishing the supply through discovery. The elements gold and silver have been the most commonly used forms of money throughout history. You can’t pick and choose which history you accept and which you deny. It all happened, and among all the kings and paupers, philosophers and scientists, the merchants and the workers, from club whacking Goth to James Bond spy, gold and silver have consistently met the criteria for money. And copper and nickle to a lesser extent. Is it my preferred money? No, I like to keep my word.

Gold and silver are money. Your word and good name are money.

Enter the printing press and a promise to pay—printing a debt. When there is a promise to pay, the promise must be backed by something. In villages, and among close associates, your word is valid money. If you live in a small town with a close knit community and you put the letter carrier in a wheel chair with your truck, the town is going to get in your face and say, “Make it good.” There’s no escaping your word and your good name.

However, we live in larger centers with many people and many promises. People who don’t keep their promise can skip town or change their name. Enter the lawyer to word the promise, and the banker to transfer of the promise. A currency is needed that represents the promise, and the currency needs all those fancy forgery safeguards to prevent someone from, “pumping out” their own promises.

Travel the world and this made-up money represents different types of promises. In China, money is based on a promise of productivity. In Greece and Egypt, money is based on their national treasures. In Canada, money is based on their resources. In the US, money is based on their bankers. But it isn’t really money. All the printed currency lacks one criteria to become money:

It doesn’t maintain it’s worth.

Some of the common forms of currency today are promissory notes, guns, drugs, stolen goods, slavery, and debt (or obligation). Open up your wallet. That is what the paper represents.

Read more Gaboo, click his tag.

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2 Responses to “Gold, Silver, And Your Word Are Money”
  1. Skóra says:

    I like this post, enjoyed this one thanks for posting .

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