Money ever weighing down your pants? Try being on the island of Yap where their money is limestone. I could only imagine having to carry around round disks of limestone in order to buy things. These disks can range from the size of a cd to as tall as a person. Not exactly pocket change now is it. And with our generation we don’t even need to carry money around anymore; instead we have little plastic cards that hold all of our money for us making our lives a little easier to keep track of our money.
With that being said, have you ever found yourself asking, what is money? The five reporters in the broadcast, “The invention of money” get the gist of this question. One of the reporters, Ira Glass states, “Money is fiction.” In another article, “Economist View: Yapping About Money: The Stone Money Of Yap” they ask you how you define money, and if the yap stones could even be considered money? With standard textbook definition, “Whatever is used as a medium of exchange, unit of account, and store of value.” Which in the article they state how the yap stones have value; in order to be considered money it needs two functions. They go further more into detail about whether or not to consider yap stones money or not.
To me after reading and listening to everything that I had, it seemed true. We all have different values of a dollar depending on what we’re buying. And when I first heard the story of the Yaps and how limestone was used as money, I thought to myself, “That’s crazy! How could you even determine how much one of the disks was even worth? There’s no set value like how our money is.” But money is fiction and the value is only what we perceive it to be. If we feel a dollar is worth a dollar or 100 pennies then it is. And the Yaps know or would understand the value of a disk better than what we would understand.
In an article I was reading titled, “Not Exactly Pocket Change: The Giant Stone Currency of The Yap” and also in the broadcast they talk about how our money compared to the Yaps money isn’t really different after all. As stated before, we keep our money in our bank accounts which we then use our 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, Andrew Kincaid said it, “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 goes with the Yaps; you just trust them that everyone knows whose stone is whose. Also something interesting I listened to in the broadcast was that the money you put into the bank is just 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.
My take on money seems to be that it’s very complex even though it’s really not. I feel I was quick to judge other places on how they handle money compared to us rather than seeing how similar we actually are. For example when reading about the Yaps, I was quick to judge how stupid of an idea that was and how they could just simply trust people by what they said was theirs. But I didn’t look at our society and how we seem to be doing the same thing with banks. It’s all in the matter of trusting the bank, that they will have your set amount of money when you come back knowing that they lend it out to other people as same goes with the Yaps trusting each others words.
Bryan, Michael F. “Economist’s View: The Stone Money Of Yap.” N.p., 15 Sept. 2005. Web. 08 Sept. 2015.
Friedman, Milton. “The Island Of Stone Money.” (n.d.): n. pag. Feb. 1991. Web. 08 Sept. 2015.
Kincaid, Andrew. “Not Exactly Pocket Change: The Giant Stone Currency Of The Yap.” N.p., 11 July 2014. Web. 08 Sept. 2015.
“The Invention Of Money.” N.p., 07 Jan. 2011. Web. 08 Sept. 2015.