Looking back I see that I was brainwashed from a young age. And that most of us in our society has have been brainwashed as well. At five years old I was given brown and grey plastic discs and green pieces of construction paper. At first I stared at it, confused to what it was until my Mom explained, “Kailee its like money! A pretend version of what Dad and I have.” It was not until she clarified that I became obsessed with the discs and paper. I would hoard them inside my piggy bank and would not let anyone else see or touch them. At eight years old I would tie dental floss around my loose teeth and link the other end to a slamming door. A lot of pain, a few drops of blood, and a sore mouth were worth getting my hands on real money that I would find under my pillow the next morning. At nineteen I work a part-time job and earn $7.45 an hour. Every payday I check my TD Bank app on my cellphone and see that the digits in my checking account have grown a little larger. From little plastic discs, to paper money, and then even to some digits that flash up from the screen of my iPhone, we have been brainwashed to think all of these things hold value. That if I have a bunch of those green pieces of paper can I can exchange them for new textbooks. That if I have a large enough number showing in my TD Bank app, I can swipe a card and receive a coffee at Starbucks.
Before being “awakened” by the broadcasts and articles, I looked at the people of Yap and laughed thinking, “they must be so primitive and stupid to believe rocks hold value,” But isn’t that exactly what we are doing here in the United States? Sure we have more abstracts, like bank accounts and coins and such, but our pieces of paper, coins, and digits in our bank account are the same thing as the Yap people’s stones. Why did I think that our currency held more worth than the Yap’s? It is because I was raised to believe paper, coins, and cards are the only currency. But Yap people would probably think I was crazy too if I opened up my wallet and took out my debit card to purchase a loaf of bread. They would wonder how, with a swipe of my card, I purchased the bread.
It is a bit crazy, but since our society agrees that these flimsy strips are linen are valuable, then they become valuable. The same goes for the people of Yap. If the people of Yap agree their enormous car sized donut stones have value, than the stones have value. When a society collectively decides that certain things hold value, they become valuable. It might be blind faith and a tad bit of crazy that we are relying on. But it works, and it has worked for hundreds of years.