When you get right down to it, money is a pretty bizarre concept. Look at a penny: it’s a little disk made of a metal most people no longer have any use for, yet it is accorded the value of 1/100th of a dollar. People work all their lives to earn dollars, which they then trade to other people for food, clothing, housing, trips to Bermuda, and cars. We trade dollars to skilled Physicians (primarily skilled at charging us more dollars) to heal our ailments, and some people actually accumulate enough of the stuff to trade it to other men to work for them.
The thing is, it doesn’t exist: it’s just a concept. A number. Don’t believe me? Not long ago, someone invented a fictitious currency called the bit-coin, and people immediately bought hundreds of thousands of them on the internet. You can’t keep a bit-coin in a bank, or use it to buy food … it wasn’t backed up by bullion Stored at Fort Knox, nor is it FDIC Insured – but you can buy all kinds of things online with them!
That is freaking nuts!
The idea of currency began with barter: Man ‘A’ has got some apples, and he’ll give some to man ‘B’ in return for some oranges. Like that. Next, of course, people began to compare apples and oranges, in an attempt to determine how many apples were a fair exchange for x number of oranges. It gets worse: it turns out the guy with the oranges doesn’t like apples, and will only accept a gallon of milk for some of them, and Man ‘A’ doesn’t have a cow. He goes and finds the owner of a cow, and he doesn’t like apples either, and wants hay for his horse which shares a barn with the cow, which Man ‘A’ also doesn’t have.
It really is not going to take long before Man ‘A’ grows murderous with frustration, kills the guy with the cow, steals the horse, and rides it to raid the orange orchard, which he then burns to the ground in his enthusiasm after killing Man ‘B’, but before raping Man ‘B’s’ wife – and, during the burning of the orchard, of course, he barbecues the cow.
This, everyone soon agreed, was not civilized.
Ok, what we need here is neither apples, nor oranges, nor milk, nor hay, and certainly not a murderous rampage, accompanied by arson, rape, and barbecue. We need currency. Something Man ‘A’ can trade Man ‘B’, which Man ‘B’ can trade for milk, and the milk-guy can trade for hay. Everyone’s happy, no one is dead, and Man ‘B’s’ wife remains unviolated, though it’s a fair bet that he treats her like crap and she’s planning to divorce his sorry ass for alimony in the form of, yes, currency!
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