During class the other day, we read and discussed about the currency on the island of Yap. The currency is called fei, they are stone coins mined from an Island 400 miles away from Yap, the bigger the stone the more wealth you have on the Island. My mind could not wrap around the idea of stone coins being used for money. You do not have to posses the stone to own the stone the islanders just knew who it belonged too. This made me think, is our currency any different? Now a days we don’t even physically touch our currency to pay for most things.
Listening to the NPR broadcast my whole concept on money changed, if you think about what money really is, and take the time to actually really develop an understanding of it, it’s fiction. We as citizens pay all this money for bills, cars, food, etc…, and our hands never even physically touch the cash. To my understand the Island of Yap and the US are no different from each other currency wise. The only difference is that we use a piece of paper and Yap use limestone coins.
Now there was a time Yap was owned bye the Spanish but, bought bye the Germans. The Germans kindly asked the people of Yap to build some roads on the Island because all there was were coral shell paths. The folk of Yap agreed, years and years past and still no roads, so what the Germans did was paint black crosses on the giant limestone coins , stating until you build roads we the Germans own your currency. The islanders did not like this they felt that their coin had decreased in value, so they built the roads and the Germans simply washed off the paint from the coins and the Yaps owned their currency gain. Reading Friedman’s essay, a similar event happened in 1933 when France and America were having some issues with gold exchange, so the French went into the American gold vault and painted crosses on the gold claiming the Americans gold. There is no difference in what the French did to the Americans than what the Germans did to the Yap.
Listening to more articles I discovered how the Brazilian citizens were invested in their money and how they used some sort of fake , made up money to save their country. Brazil was causing inflation day by day in their own country.The Brazilians could not wrap their mind around the concept that the price of the dollar or cruzeiros stayed the same, but the value of the cruzeiros were due to change and how much they could purchase would also change. This example shows you by the Brazilians using the fake currency which was called URV’s changed their country rapidly. This article proved that we depend on money so much that man chooses to just make money when we do not have it, showing that money is a fictional item.
The last article that I read was about how the Japanese approved a $10.3 million yen stimulus ($116 Billion dollars) to help their countries economic issues. Doing this Japan decreased the value of yen so much it made their currency weaker. From fabricating this fake money Japans public debt is twice the size of their economy. Reading this article definitely changed my opinion on how I look at money permanently.
My mind is blown because of the knowledge I just received. I will, never can look at money the same again. Money is a fictional item in my mind now. I can now say I as a young adult have a better understanding about the US dollar and currency around the world period!
Friedman, Milton. “The Island of Stone Money.” Diss. Hoover Institution, Stanford University , 1991.
“The Invention of Stone Money.” 423: The Invention of Stone Money. This Is American Life, WBEZ. Chicago . 7 Jan. 2011.
Joffe-Walt, Chana . “How Fake Money Saved Brazil.” NPR.org. 4 Oct. 2010. 30 Jan. 2015. <http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2010/10/04/130329523/how-fake-money-saved-brazil>>
Tibuchi, Hiroko. “Japan Approves $116 Billion for Urgent Economic Stimulus.” NYTimes.com. N.p., n.d. Web