Invention of Money–Billy Kluge

0A monetary system is a necessity for any properly functioning society but the whole idea behind money is very odd and confusing.  I have always been baffled by the way people would want to trade useful products with a purpose for an item that is essentially just a piece of paper or stone with a number on it. Today in a civilized first world country people fight daily and work hard to obtain these coins and dollars that control there life.  What is also alarming is the way monetary systems have been going off an honesty system to an extent. People put all their savings into a bank and just assume that it is there and safe, they don’t need to physically hold it but their net worth is the same. It is a crazy system that we have all just grown to view as normal.

This phenomenon of paper and stones as money and leaving money out of sight is occurring in modern time but has been happening for decades all around the world. Decades ago, on the island of Yap the residents used large stones as money, the more expensive the stone the more worth it had. For these people the stones did not do anything for them besides show who was more wealthy than the other. Some of the stones were even too big to carry by one man and due to the lack of cars at the time period they would just sit in front of one’s house after being carried there by a team of men. This sounds ridiculous but is basically the same as today, people use coins that really have no essential use but show wealth. A problem for the people of Yap was transferring the stones so when trading often times the stone would be left on the original owner’s lawn and just be owned by someone else due to the inconvenience of moving it. When hearing this I was surprised that people would be okay with this but it is actually a relatable concept to today’s world. Instead of handing off money to one another people now just digitally transfer a number on a computer to tell them that they own money miles from their house. When putting the system into prospective this way it makes it seem silly the way it is. It is almost hard to believe.

The way we rely on these piece of paper and stones with numbers on them is truly shocking when one is to really think about it. I know it is impossible for me to not use the banking system but after breaking it down in class, the idea that we find it normal is alarming. The monetary system of the people of Yap although seemingly inferior is not so much different than to ours today.

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6 Responses to Invention of Money–Billy Kluge

  1. billykluge says:

    Can I please get some feedback on this essay. Thank you.

  2. adkins70 says:

    Eliminate the first red sentence. Then, possibly change the second to something like, “Relying on paper to show our value is shocking.”

  3. davidbdale says:

    Hey, Billy. The way this works, I write feedback as I read your essay through, so that you learn how one interested reader reacts to your argument as you’re making it.
    P1. You got me to nod with the first clause, but them immediately confused me with “the whole idea behind money.” My reaction was that money is an idea; there doesn’t have to be an idea behind an idea.

    As you may have read or remember me saying, you won’t be relating your personal experience of how your mind changed while studying money. You’ll concentrate on the concepts themselves instead. See if you can generalize your first person comments, substituting “we.” For example, you don’t need to say money is confusing and then demonstrate. Instead:

    No society functions for long without money, but the idea of trading a cow for a handful of colorful, numbered paper, nonetheless seems absurd.

    Those 24 words replace your 58, I think; they avoid the redundancy of the odd-idea-behind-the-idea, turn your personal experience into something shared, and trade some paper for a cow. We’re on a roll.

    Begin a new paragraph at “Today.” We’ll call it P2.

    P2. first-world.
    their life.
    Why “also” alarming? Nothing else has been alarming.
    Please never say “going off” again, or “to an extent.”
    Your “People” sentence is a comma-spliced run-on.

    You will hate me, Billy, but I’m going to shrink-wrap this paragraph too.

    We work hard for these tokens of value that keep us in cows, but rarely hold them; in fact they barely exist. We trust our employers to “transfer” them to our bank, and our bank to “transfer” them to our creditors, and what’s left over is our net worth. It only seems normal because it’s familiar.

    This is not identical to yours, of course, but it covers much the same ground. Do you see that it’s possible to be clear with a simple vocabulary? And that the writing can still be interesting?

    This version also avoids some ideas that did not fit into your original paragraph:

    • dollars control their lives
    • going off an honesty system
    • people assume the money in the bank is safe

    They’re not bad ideas, but they deserve their own space where don’t just get lost or distract readers from the topic of the moment.

    P3. Can you work the same sort of revision magic on the rest of your paragraphs? Suspect phrases that need rethinking include:

    • leaving money out of sight
    • is occurring in modern time
    • the more expensive the stone the more worth it had
    • the stones did not do anything for them. Really?
    • people use coins . . . that show wealth?
    • would be owned by someone else due to the inconvenience of moving it
    • when putting the system into perspective this way, it makes it seem silly the way it is

    I’m not sure the closing paragraph serves much purpose, Billy. You may officially hate me now. Instead, let’s conference before or after a class this week. If before Tuesday’s is your choice, let me know tonight. If any other time, you can tell me in class.

  4. davidbdale says:

    Looking for your feedback on the feedback here, Billy. It’s freely given, but only if it’s helpful. If you want less, I can save myself an hour.

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