Money or currency is a concept used all over the world, from 1st world countries to 3rd world countries. The idea behind one countries idea 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 Yep 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 it changes hands in ownership, it might not change location. The people on the island will have a mental note of who owns which Fei.
Imagine if the United States were to use the same format for it’s currency, the result would be catastrophic. For example during the 1930’s before the great depression a minute change in detail of ownership for gold drove Americans into panic. For the French were nervous about the deflation of the dollar currency and requested that their dollars be changed into gold. No money or gold changed hands, just a simple note was put onto the vaults of gold to show whose it actually was. Nothing had moved it was only a simple piece of paper. This gave horror to many Americans and can be argued to have sparked the great depression.
The United States monetary system is only as good and the amount of gold our country has to back the value of the dollar. If the US were to have absolutely no money, the dollar bill would only be worth the paper its written on. The monetary system only works when the people believe that there is worth behind the system. Everything has value based on what the people are actually willing to let it be.
These systems are just a substitute for bartering are never a full proof idea. The Yap would be mind boggled about how our monetary system is small enough to fit in most pockets. They would not understand our credit card system and how abstract it is.
Friedman, Milton. “The Island of Stone Money.” Diss. Hoover Institution, Stanford University , 1991.
Phillips, John. “Bitcoin: What to Expect in 2015.” CNBC. N.p., 15 Dec. 2014. Web. 07 Sept. 2015.
Durden, Tyler.” The concept of money and the money illusion”. 5 Sept. 2015.