Invention of Money – Justin Baker

It is incredible how my views on money has changed in the past two days. I was raised to believe that $20 was more than $1, but now I question that. Why is one piece of paper worth more than another piece of identical paper? Money, like any item, is only as valuable as somebody makes it to be. There are very old coins that are worth so much more than they are actually “worth”. It is funny how we say we have a specific amount of money, but we never see that money in a physical form. At any one time, people carry anywhere from ten to forty dollars in their wallet, but they also carry around a piece of plastic that tells cashiers at various places that people do have this money in order to buy whatever they are buying, but they do not have it there with them in a physical sense. Many people never see their paychecks as they can be directly deposited into their bank account, which is also another place people never actually see. There is a lot of trust involved on the peoples part. The French trusted America to put aside gold and label it with their name. While France could not see that being done, they trusted America that they did it. The Yap islander’s concept of money was giant stones. It was given a value of whomever owned it, was the richest person. It is a very silly concept, but so is America’s concept of money. We never see all of our money, but we are told we have it. Do we really?

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5 Responses to Invention of Money – Justin Baker

  1. davidbdale says:

    You cover a lot of ground in your post, Baker, which is admirable. You also glide casually from one topic to another, which is neither good nor bad necessarily, provided you are following a plan that has an intrinsic structure of some kind, guiding readers unconsciously toward a conclusion. Let’s isolate what I will call your “claims” and see what pattern they follow.

    1. My views have changed.
    2. I doubt that $20 is more than $1.
    3. I doubt that pieces of paper have relative value.
    4. Money has whatever value we give it.
    5. Coins can be worth more than their face value.
    6. We never see all of our money.
    7. We use plastic to represent our paper money.
    8. In fact we often don’t actually see our money.
    9. Something about the system requires trust.
    10. France trusted the US to safekeep its gold.
    11. The Yap used stones as money.
    12. The richest Yap owned the most stones.
    13. That’s silly; so are we.
    14. We don’t see our money: do we own it?

    When you look over this list, do the claims follow one another logically, Baker? Do they cluster into categories that make good arguments? Do you sense the places where transitions might be required, or the reorganization that might keep like observations together?

    These concepts of money, value, worth, and ownership (not to mention credit, which you talk about here but don’t identify) are very abstract and hard to talk about without getting sloppy. But it’s important not to interchange them.

    Is it really hard to understand how one piece of paper could be worth more than another? When your employer hands you a check for $20, but you’ve earned $200, that one missing zero makes your paper worth ten times less.

    Of course, we don’t carry all our money with us, but we don’t carry our houses either. We know we own them all the same, and so do the town, county, state, and country we live in: our taxes are based on our ownership which is demonstrated with another piece of paper worth whatever our house is worth, a number that keeps changing.

    These aren’t criticisms of your post, just ideas to keep in mind that might help you be extra clear in your use of terms.

    Read my notes to Kenyah too, Baker. There may be help for you there as well regarding paragraph organization and other writing techniques.

    Do you find this useful? I’m eager to know. Thank you again for posting early and submitting to the feedback process in this very public way. I appreciate it. I imagine your classmates do too.

  2. jpassalacqua says:

    The value given to some older coins still circulating through our economic system should be given a much higher value than the value given to them simply because of how many of those coins have been created.

  3. kenyahkayy says:

    Maybe you could say: “There are very old coins that are worth more in antique value than their actual monetary value.”

    If that’s what you’re trying to say

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