Rock Dollars and Invisible Cents
The idea of currency is imaginary, a complicated idea to many. However, the value of said money within the our currency system is very real to us all. Who is to say that rocks cannot be money? A NPR radio broadcast told of people known as the Yap that inhabited an island known as Yap that used polished limestone disks, known as fei, as a currency. These fei ranged in size from coin sized to car sized and were used to purchase everything from food to cattle. The Yap all agreed that these pieces of limestone had a value just as we Americans all agree that pieces of linen with a number on them have value (since out system is no longer even backed by anything), or the same way that those in Spain, or Mexico, or Brazil have their paper currencies.
It gets better however. Banking is a very strange phenomena. We give money to this institution, a few numbers are changed in our accounts to institute a deposit or withdraw, then the paper money is lent back out to others. We know how much we have to spend, and we spend our money through use of credit and debit cards and do not even see the physical dollar. Well, going back to yap, a fei of large value was lost at sea, but was put into circulation on the island as those transporting the fei were able to describe it in such detail that the residents of the island all agreed on its existence. This is similar to how our money can be in a bank, basically invisible, yet the money can still be spent.
While on the topic on invisible currency, bitcoins are a new up and comer in the realm of currency. This is a form of currency that is entirely electronic. There are a few issues that some have with bitcoins; this includes the fact that bitcoin’s prices are not very stable, and also that since they are all electronic it would be “easy” to hack and steal someones bitcoins. These people think the bitcoin will die out due to it being, for lack of a better term, made up. However, all currency systems start this way, and once it evens out and becomes more accessible to the everyday consumer, some feel that the bitcoin could become standard use. In the near future this “invisible currency” could become the future. In retrospect isn’t our current system invisible already? Already made up?
Friedman, Milton. “The Island of Stone Money.” (1991): n. pag. The Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Feb. 1991. Web. 7 Sept. 2015.
“The Invention of Money.” This American Life. NPR.org, 7 Jan. 2011. Web. 07 Sept. 2015.
Phillips, John. “Bitcoin: What to Expect in 2015.” CNBC. N.p., 15 Dec. 2014. Web. 07 Sept. 2015.
Reeves, Jeff. “Bitcoin Has No Place in Your – or Any – Portfolio.” MarketWatch. N.p., 31 Jan. 2015. Web. 07 Sept. 2015.