Money Rewrite – Rick Casario

We all often wonder what our hard earned dollars are worth. What drives people to do such bizarre things or labor for seemingly endless hours just for a piece of paper that has value to buy us a house, or a car, or a college education or even a bag of chips? Take the people of the Yap for example. They use massive stones called fei, as currency and use it as a way to trade for goods. Some of the stones are so big that they usually will stay on the original owner’s property but it will just be understood by the village that someone else owns it. There is also story about one great fei stone that was lost at sea, but the people still use it as if everyone could see it and owned it. Its concepts like this that make us realize that for as ridiculous as this method seems its not all that crazy when you step back and take a look at our own economy.

Money is an interesting concept because it helps us satisfy our need to participate in consumerism. The main thing to remember with the concept of money though is that its just that, a concept. Currency, to anyone other than us, is nothing more than green paper and more recently nothing more than numbers in a computer that represent money you have in the bank. Its essentially an abstract concept (credit/debit cards) inside of the abstract concept that is money itself. Outside of the human culture, money means nothing more than paper with no more value than what physical means it has. Being consumers in our economy we are compelled to buy our goods with these concepts of credit such as a credit or debit card and no actual money is physically exchanged, but it allows us to obtain goods and help the economy grow. Money gets a negative connotation as the root of evil or that it is not a means to buy happiness, but in reality, the concept of money and credit/debit cards is simply a means to an end. The concept of money allows for the idea of consumerism which allows us to get the goods required for life, and help generate a cash flow that stimulates our economy and in return, our society as a whole. In the end how much more different is our idea from the Yap when the reality is that the idea of currency is just a means to simply survive in the modern day.

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6 Responses to Money Rewrite – Rick Casario

  1. davidbdale says:

    Rick, I got the impression this essay was not going well as soon as you wondered out loud: why do people work so hard just to buy a house? You may not think you said that, but you did. I can help you with this, and I hope you’ll let me, and that you’ll ask for feedback in future and want to revise. It’s your call, of course.

  2. rickc1030 says:

    Professor I would always take your word and help. My apologizes for such a ridiculous claim now that I look back at that. Thank you so much for understanding my confusion, and like I said, writing isn’t necessarily my strong point so I want to work on it.

    • davidbdale says:

      I accept your apology, Rick, but at the same time I forbid you to make it again.

      I couldn’t care less what capabilities you brought to class; you’re clearly a very bright guy and I’m willing to bet you haven’t been trained to 1) think hard about your own ideas, 2) clarify exactly what they are, 3) trust them to be worthwhile, and 4) express them clearly and simply.

      I start with “The Invention of Money” because Milton Friedman is a genius of economic thought whose writing could not be more simple and clear. If writing isn’t your strong suit, you’re probably just getting in your own way.

      Be the guy I know from class who says the smart stuff and just trust it, Rick. You’ll be a better writer immediately.

      • rickc1030 says:

        I did manage to re-write this with a much more focused logic. I’ll likely post it after class today for you to review at your own discretion!

  3. rickc1030 says:

    We often wonder what our hours of labor are worth. The hours of labor are worth a lot more than we ever truly realized. What is that check our boss hands us at the end of the day mean? The check is nothing more than a note. A note that says that the company owes us an amount of money that can be digitally transferred to our bank accounts. We use the money for a variety of things but it is significant because the money we get and then spend fuels a cycle that is our economy. On a basic level of the cycle of money, the money is a bridge that we use to obtain services and goods for our survival in a modern day world and in return, are paid that same money for our own labor. Currency, in its most basic form, allows us to get what we need without having to find another tangible object that is worth the same service or goods we are trying to acquire. The people of the Yap for example, use massive stones called fei as currency for goods and services. The village carpenter fixes our roof? He now owns the large sized boulder on our front lawn, but it will stay here because moving it up hill across town would just be ridiculous. Notice that the Yap’s method of payment is a little more primitive than our own, but the fei are a bridge that allows us to have a fixed roof, sparring us from the harsh monsoon on the horizon. The use of fei helped us to survive. Just like that note received from the boss, that gives us money to pay the mortgage or the water and electric bill. The labor and spending of money is what keeps the economy alive and keeps us laboring for the survival of ourselves and those who require our services in one way or another.

    • davidbdale says:

      You’re right, Rick. This is much more focused. It identifies money early as a bridge—nothing more or less—between our labor and the goods and services we desire. In future (or even in the present, if you want to revise this post after the fact) instead of putting a new version in the Reply fields, replace the first draft with the rewrite in the same post. Just “Update.” WordPress will save all versions, and even allow you to view the old and new versions side by side.

      Watch your language in what amounts to your “first paragraph” before the Yap example. You have several times violated the advice that “Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens.” Hours of labor, hours of labor; that check, a check; a note, a note, etc.

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