Stone Money – marinebio18

(Substitute an actual title if you like the idea. I think it’s smart  to title your essays.)

I always believed that the money I had in either my bank account had value. My belief was true to me until I was introduced to the story about a Carolina island named “Yap”. This island had a unique way of currency. Their currency was large stones named “fei”. These stones sat on a person’s lawn representing wealth. The islanders believed in this system to pay, giving the stones value. Although the idea seems a bit silly, the stones were a physical way to pay for purchases. After learning about Yap, I learned about the Brazilian economy. Money has changed drastically over the years. Money went from a physical object to pay for goods and services, to no physical object other than the debt or credit card in a person’s hand. In Brazil four graduate students came up with the idea to use virtual money to rebuild the Brazilian economy. The NPR podcast about Brazil made me think of several questions. Even with all the changes, does the piece of paper I have in my wallet actually have any value?

Money is an extremely hard concept to understand. During the economic downfall in Brazil, every day the value of money decreased. For decades the government tried to fix the issue and the price of goods until the idea of virtual money was proposed to the Brazilian Government. Once the money became a virtual way of purchasing things, the economy in Brazil got better. The virtual way of representing money changed from week to week making 1 URV equivalent to a certain amount of cruzeros. Brazil’s change in the way they viewed money, made me change my idea of money. I realize that the people give the money value and we don’t need to.

Hundreds of years ago in America, the people used gold to pay for goods. According to Milton Friedman in “The Island of Stone Money”, this way of keeping track of money was called the gold standard, America got away from the gold standard as the years passed due to the French wanting to exchange their paper money for gold. Some year later the federal reserved used paper money. Decades later, America has shied away from paper money once again however it is digital. I have always questioned the value of digital money and what it means to me if I don’t see it. Similar to Brazil, a new way of handling money in America is Bitcoin. Bitcoin doesn’t have any physical value. As competitive as the nations are around the world, other places have hoped on the virtual train.

Money is not just an issue in America in Brazil; it’s also an issue in Japan. According to the article “Japan approves $116 Billion for Urgent Economic Stimulus” Japan faces a similar problem to the one in Brazil. The government in has changed the value to the Yen making it weaker. Japan’s government plan makes me question, why virtual money does mean so much if people don’t physically have it.

Learning about the different ways and forms money can come in, while most of these ways being digital I believe the statement of the NPR podcast that money is Fiction. Believing in money is a silly concept to me that I have to accept and live by during my lifetime as the economy and forms of money change.

Works Cited

Friedman, Milton. “The Island of Stone Money.” (1991): 1-5. Feb. 1991. Web.

Phillips, John. “Bitcoin: What to Expect in 2015.” CNBC. N.p., 15 Dec. 2014. Web. 07 Sept. 2015. <http://www.cnbc.com/2014/12/15/bitcoin-what-to-expect-in-2015.html&gt;.

Tabuchi, Hiroko. “Japan Approves $116 Billion for Urgent Economic Stimulus.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 10 Jan. 2013. Web. 07 Sept. 2015. <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/11/business/global/japan-approves-116-billion-in-emergency-economic-stimulus.html&gt;.

Glass, Ira, and Chana Joffe-Walt. “The Invention of Money | This American Life.” This American Life. Planet Money, 17 Jan. 2011. Web. 07 Sept. 2015. <http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/423/the-invention-of-money&gt;.

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4 Responses to Stone Money – marinebio18

  1. marinebio18 says:

    feedback was requested.

    Feedback provided.
    —DSH

    Like

  2. davidbdale says:

    Hello, marinebio. I’m happy to comply. 🙂

    My method for providing feedback is to respond as I read rather than first reading all the way through. I do so to provide you with a paragraph-by-paragraph reaction to your writing the same as any reader would respond. I hope you find this method helpful.
    P.S. I am very critical of all writing; harsh comments are common. I will praise your work only when I find something truly commendable. If you prefer gentler guidance, you only have to ask. I can be kind.

    P1. I don’t think you can save much of this paragraph, marinebio, but it might make a good “before” paragraph for a Purposeful Summary Before and After exercise. I may actually do that for your benefit and your classmates’.

    The primary problem is that your paragraph has no clear thesis. It is anecdotal in three ways: 1) it tells a tale of Yap; 2) it tells a tale of Brazil; 3) it tells a tale of your own relationship with money. The smaller problem, related to the primary problem, is that the point of these three tales is unclear.

    The best I can tell, you would like to claim that “money has no value,” but you’re reluctant to do so, maybe because that can’t be true. People accept it in return for automobiles, for example. It must have some value. Until you clarify what you mean by “value,” your paragraph will never come together.

    You do say that the Yap’s belief in their currency gave it value. That’s a start. But there’s no similar claim about the Brazilians. And about yourself, we have only questions: (I had always believed / my belief was true until / made me think of several questions / does it have value?).

    P2. I agree the concepts are hard to describe, marinebio. That’s why this is a good assignment. I have to say your paragraph would make very little sense to anyone who had not heard the NPR broadcast. The idea that money simply became virtual and that its value changed weekly is not persuasive. Your conclusion that “people give money its value” is perfectly reasonable but requires clarification. You certainly don’t mean that I can decide how much my money is worth. So how do “people” do that?

    P3. This is not true: “America got away from the gold standard as the years passed due to the French wanting to exchange their paper money for gold.” The two are not causally related.

    This is not true either: “Some year later the federal reserved used paper money.” Paper dollars were already in use in 1918, had been for decades, and could be redeemed for gold on demand.

    I get lost in the rest of your paragraph. True Americans increasingly use plastic and digital transactions instead of currency. Your uneasiness regarding non-physical money doesn’t appear to be an argument at all. Bitcoin is not an American phenomenon; it’s relationship to Brazil is a stretch. True, bitcoin has no physical value, but neither does the slip of linen that is a $1000 bill. Is your claim that other nations are also using less currency related to Bitcoin? The placement of the sentence indicates a connection.

    P4. There’s a word for the crisis in Brazil. Use it, and the same word to identify the problem in Japan, if they are indeed the same. Otherwise you’re equating “a problem” with “a problem,” which doesn’t help the reader understand. Do you mean the government declared the Yen was worth more, or did they take some action that led others to value the yen lower? Your last sentence hints that the Japanese money problem is related to its virtuality. Is it? How? It would surprise me.

    P5. Hmmm . . . . money is fiction, silly to believe in. Is that because it’s money? Or because the value of everything is variable?

    Suppose we were still bartering for our economy. I have cows, you have apples. If we’re really lucky, I want apples and you want a cow. Your apples are real, but their value is something I get to decide, not you, whereas you’re in charge of the cow’s value, correct? I might want 50 bushels of apples in the fall, when apples are plentiful, but might accept 10 bushels of apples in the spring when there are no apples anywhere. Ten miles away, there might be a surplus of stored apples that would make my cow worth 30 bushels. Does that make it silly to believe in the value of apples? (or cows?) Or does it simply mean that everything, including dollars, bitcoin, and gold, have relative values based on what’s rare and what’s desirable at any time and place. Exchange rates (like the one imposed between the cruzero and the URV, later the real) determine the “market value” of everything, currencies included.

    Can you accept that explanation? Will it help you do a rewrite that makes positive substantial claims about money? You have a week to do a rewrite, which will be a separate post titled “Stone Money Rewrite.”

    Did you find this feedback helpful, marinebio? Overbearing? Some of each? I can only afford to spend this amount of time on writers who value the interaction. Please reply.

    Like

  3. marinebio18 says:

    Money is an extremely hard concept to understand. During the economic downfall in Brazil, every day the value of money decreased. For decades the government tried to fix the issue and the price of goods until the idea of virtual money was proposed to the Brazilian Government. Once the money became a virtual way of purchasing things, the economy in Brazil got better. The virtual way of representing money changed from week to week making 1 URV equivalent to a certain amount of cruzeros. Brazil’s change in the way they viewed money, made me change my idea of money. I realize that the people give the money value and we don’t need to.

    to

    During the economic downfall in Brazil, a person could pick up a can of soup with twenty or more prices tags, each tag representing a the price of the soup at different days .Every day the prices would change changing the value of the cruzeros.The Brazilian government tried to fix the issue and the price of goods until the idea of virtual money was proposed. Once the economy was able to be stable, some money went from a flimsy green paper to a small plastic card.The sellers willingness to accept transactions through a plastic card, changed Brazils way of purchasing goods. The virtual way of representing money changed from week to week making 1 URV equivalent to a certain amount of cruzeros. The person that sells the good or service determines what the buyers money is worth.

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