Invention of Money- Steve LeBano

I’ll be completely honest, this topic is a very difficult one for me to pick a side on. I haven’t ever sat down and mentally attacked a topic like this before, and I am finding myself rather conflicted. One word that immediately comes to mind for me is triviality. My first impression of the people of Yap were that they were foolish and absurd, and that their customs were highly abstract and far removed from our modern western culture. They’re not. At least they usually knew where their massive shiny stones were located; how many people can actually say that they’ve seen their “wealth” in person? We don’t even know if gold is contained in Fort Knox, let alone how much is actually in there. At the same time though, currency is what makes our entire society function as it does today, for better or for worse. It’s really the only reason why most young adults attend college in the first place. Financial security is incredibly vital, and in order to live comfortably in the modern world, the general consensus is that you need to go to college and make money in order to be considered a success. Triviality has become vital to society, and it scares me to say that I’m completely willing to devote my young adulthood in order to conform to that mindset.

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4 Responses to Invention of Money- Steve LeBano

  1. davidbdale says:

    I appreciate your honesty, Steve, but I don’t understand what you mean by “pick a side on.” You might mean “find an angle on,” or “express a clear opinion about.” Saying you’re unable to “pick a side” indicates there’s a two-sided debate in progress; I don’t think there is. But I’m very interested to hear you thrash out the results of your “mentally attacking” the topic. Again, I’m not clear what you mean by feeling “conflicted,” a word I associate with reluctance to speak the truth. Maybe you’re more confused than conflicted, or simply having trouble saying something concrete about an abstract topic. That’s understandable, but finding a way to express it simply and tangibly is a wonderful writing opportunity.

    Suppose, instead of your first three sentences, you expressed yourself like this:

    Ever since reading about The Invention of Money, I can’t look at a dollar the same way. These flimsy slips of linen covered with silly green symbols seem so worthless; do I really work hard at my job to earn a handful of these?

    See what I mean? Readers are much more likely to be engaged with your topic (and even feel some of the alienation from their money you’ve been feeling) when you can put something tangible in their hands. Make them visualize that odd slip of paper, feel its flimsiness, and they might start to ask themselves: hey, yeah, what is this really worth?

    Looked at that way, the stones of the Yap do seem a lot more substantial, even though the stones themselves have no practical use or value.

    Historically, it’s crucial for you to understand that the US abandoned the gold standard in the 1930s, Steve. Fort Knox is entirely irrelevant to the conversation today. The dollars in circulation today are not backed by gold in the US Treasury, so, no, even if we wanted to, we couldn’t find our wealth buried there.

    Your observation that the need for money drives most of our productive efforts is true enough, but it’s hardly the point of closely observing the mechanics of trading symbols for goods and services. An essay about how we should value goodness over wealth, or any related themes, would be irrelevant to the subject at hand. Be careful about that.

    I don’t mean in any way to trivialize or discount your heartfelt confession that you’re appalled to be devoting your life to the pursuit of comfort, Steve. That real and crucial understanding is valuable and I value it. It has little place here, though, where the topic is not how trivial money is, but how bizarre it is.

  2. smithk53 says:

    You could completely take out the first sentence and the second sentence. The gold at Fort Knox is completely irrelevant because it doesn’t belong to us anymore because our money isn’t backed by it anymore. If you want to say anything at all about Fort Knox you may want to mention that our money isn’t backed by anything anymore which makes it even harder to trust that we have the wealth that we think that we have.

  3. lebano55 says:

    I certainly took the perspective of my writing and content knowledge into consideration, thanks.

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