Convert the bloated paragraphs into idea-rich, logically complex sentences. Begin the exercise in class, finish on your own time, publish your results below as numbered Replies.
Some paragraphs will resist reduction to a single sentence because they wander among too many main ideas. For those, write separate sentences, 5a and 5b for example, to indicate that the paragraphs might actually be multiple paragraphs.
Begin with 1. Work in teams if you prefer. I will circulate among you to check on your progress.
- Money or currency is a concept used all over the world, from 1st world countries to 3rd world countries. The idea behind one country’s idea of currency can be drastically different from one population to the next. For example there is an island off the coast of Australia named Yap where their form of currency is know as Fei. Fei is in the form of limestone which can range in size from a cd disc to a stone the size of a small house. The greater the size of the Fei the greater the amount of wealth the owner will have. Fei is found over 400 miles away from the island of Yap and many men expeditions using wooden rafts are needed to retrieve it. This is an extraordinarily different way to look at currency than in the United States. Some of the Fei are too big to move therefore when they change hands in ownership, they might not change location. The people on the island will have a mental note of who owns which Fei.
- Money is fiction—that is, according to the dispositions and conclusions of certain outspoken individuals, including, primarily, reporters from an NPR broadcast and an economist from Stanford University by the name of Milton Friedman. These parties, and more, discuss the ideologies behind the concept of money and currency and how it differs and parallels among dissimilar cultures and different scales. Ranging from a tribal culture from an Island called Yap, to the modern United States Federal Reserve and even some samples that were on an international scale. They all seem to bring to light how intangible the reality of money actually appears to be and they write it off as fiction. However, anthropologically it would not seem so fictional, it may even appear beautiful.
- An article I was reading about the giant stone currency of the Yap, and an NPR broadcast on the same topic, both claimed that our money compared to the Yaps’ money isn’t really different after all. We keep our money in our bank accounts which we then access using credit or debit cards to make purchases. When our money is in the bank it doesn’t sit there with our names on it; it is being lent out to other people. As the author of the article said, “Your bank account is just an agreement between you and the bank that x amount of money is yours. You take it on faith that the bank will have that money.” Same for the Yaps: they trusted that everyone knew whose stone was whose. Also something interesting I listened to in the broadcast was that the money you put into the bank is merely numbers on a computer screen. When you purchase something, physical money is not being transferred; just a few numbers on a computer are being changed. This can relate to the stones because the actual stone isn’t being moved, just the names of who owns them.
- Just as it did thousands of years ago, money in our age still plays an important role in our society. In order for most of us in the United States and other countries around the world to live, we need money. We need money to purchase food to eat, need money to buy clothes to wear, and we also need money to shelter ourselves. Money today in the United States is determined by the government. They are the ones who give each bill its specific currency, like the dollar bill or ten dollar bill, as well as the metal coins. In other countries it’s the same way. For example, in the Philippines, the type of currency they use in their every day life is pesos.
- In Milton Friedman’s essay, “Island of Stone Money,” he talks about the small island of Yap and how he was impressed with their monetary system that revolved around stone. I found an immediate contrast between American society and Yap society, as Americans believe gold to be much more valuable than stones would ever be. Unlike American society, Yap society considers stone to have value as we Americans value gold, which is why stone or as the Yap people may call it “Fei” is the currency of the island. As I continued to read the essay, I found it interesting that “it is not necessary for its owner to reduce it to possession.” Meaning if the stone could not be carried, the ownership would be switched, marked as a form of exchange, and left undisturbed. I was surprised to know how easy it was for the people of Yap to trust someone with their stone but I noticed that it isn’t any different than me putting my “money” into a bank account.