You know, I’ve never understood the concept of money. We all know that it is not worth more than the paper it is printed on… plus the ink, and perhaps the labor invested in its production. It has been around long enough, however, that we all put on this elaborate charade, pretending that is is something it’s not. I call bullshit on that. Just because we pretend that money is so precious, doesn’t give it any value whatsoever.
Since money is essentially worthless, it comes as no surprise that throughout history, the concept has gone through various transitions: back in the day, money was used to directly represent stuff, to make trading easier. One coin, for example, would be the same as a chicken, or something stupid like that. It’s a lot easier to move coins around, than chickens, makes sense. Needless to say, each community would have its own currency that was not compatible with other currencies, so it didn’t really make trading between communities any easier. As more and more things were sold, coins would be made of something that had innate value, like gold. So this made it easier to trade all kinds of goods, even among different communities; later, to make it even easier to move around, paper currency was printed, which was representative of a certain amount of gold, but this is where things start to get blurry. The gold, even though it has an ascribed value, is pretty much useless for the average person. Honestly, what is a farmer supposed to do with a brick of gold? Eat it? Does the gold come alive and clean the house? Chickens and maids are useful, gold is not.
Back when everyone was handing their stuff back and forth, in the form of coins, or otherwise, everything was fair and square. Everyone knew exactly how much stuff they had, and how much stuff everyone else has. A chicken was worth just that: a chicken. Everyone needs to eat, so it would pretty much hold the same value to everyone. Granted, there are fatsos who need to eat several chickens in one day, so the value of a chicken to a fatso is less than a normal person. But these differences are relatively minor.
Still with me? Good. Now the more the story goes on, the more stupid it gets: after a while people realized all this, and their solution was to simply get rid of the “gold standard”. What is used instead? Nothing! My econ teacher in high school gave a ridiculous answer to that question: the value of the USD is attained by the faith invested in it by the people. The people, he said, believe in the value of the currency because it has the words “In God We Trust” printed on it (god being me!?); this is obviously nonsense. What about the people who don’t believe in me? They’ll be forever poor? That’s right, if you don’t believe in god, you shall die. Bullshit! Is this a nation of sheep? I think some imbecile came up with this ridiculous idea, and it caught on, it became a buzzword. Kind of like Web 2.0; nobody really knows what it is, but people hear it and use it just to be cool. That’s when things get messed up, like this so-called “economy”, since everyone interprets the concept how they want to interpret it, everyone loses: the discrepancies among the world’s economies, for example, are significant.
Every person in the world, and even some animals, would agree on the value of a chicken, leaving money out of the picture. But one unit of currency means something different to each person, even if they live in the same country.
Chickens and horses and gasoline have real value. Money does not. Or does it? While everyone would agree that paper money has almost no real value, everyone would agree that is is useful. More useful than a chicken of equal value. A chicken is a chicken, but $5 can be anything in that price range! Isn’t that amazing? People, through their collective belief, have created something out of nothing, no matter how stupid it is. If only a handful of people believed in the usefulness of the money everyone has, it would become useless, so if even a part of the population loses faith in their cash, all the cash goes down the proverbial drain, and the shit hits the fan, like in 1929 when the stock market crashed, leading to the Great Depression. What does this mean? It means that if people can collectively create this, then they can create anything. Does god really exist? If enough people believe in him, yes. Even if there is no actual god with actual “powers”, people trust the cash, which is, according to its own description, backed by god, so is god real? Just as real as the cash. Likewise, if enough people stop believing in god, he will cease to exist, just like the value of money ceased to exist in 1929.
But draw your own conclusions. I have spoken ;-).
The Mere Thought Of Money Can Make People Selfish: http://www.livescience.com/humanbiology/061116_money_matters.html