Most parents place a lot of effort trying to teach their kids the value of a dollar. It is an extremely difficult concept to grasp for children, and the concept does not get easier as you grow. Truth is, the older we grow, the more we realize that money truly is a concept and not a very physical thing as opposed to the way it was years ago. Nowadays, you can pay someone back without physically handing them any money. Apps like Venmo and CashApp are used to send someone money electronically and you are able to transfer the money directly into your bank account. The only noticeable difference is that the numbers on your screen increase. The “value” of the dollar is extremely difficult to be taught since the value of any currency is constantly fluctuating.
The people who lived on the islands of Yap realized they needed a monetary system which consisted of using stones. The citizens of Yap picked the heaviest and rarest stones that required the most effort to obtain. The interesting part is that people were content with accepting ownership if the size did not allow you to move it. They used stone until the Germans started marking the most expensive stones, fei, which led the people of Yen into believing they were poorer since it did not belong to them anymore. History repeats itself in the U.S. in the 1900s when France wanted their gold and asked the U.S. to place it in a different drawer. The country freaked out because it was France’s gold despite it being on U.S. territory. This is proof that money is a concept rather than a physical item. Money solely depends on people’s belief in it.
A high inflation in brazil caused extreme difficulty to the people to run their economy. The value of the currency changed so frequently depending on the plan each president had to get rid of inflation. The government continued to decrease Brazil’s money value by printing more money. Although, prices were increasing everyday, products would get cheaper which would often result in businesses shutting down because it took too long to manufacture their goods. Brazil had a huge problem until four professors fixed it by tricking the entire country into using a completely different currency. There was a conversion chart put out each morning to let the people know how much it is worth that day. The government got rid of its own debt by creating a new monetary and adopting it. The people all choose to move on because it meant starting fresh and having a regulating economy. It all involved around a virtual economy proving how essential people’s faith is when it comes to money.
Bitcoin is a virtual currency which can be bought using U.S. dollars and can be used to purchase things online. It holds a higher value because it costs more dollars to purchase a bitcoin. According to Renaut, Bitcoin can be used to purchase/trade drugs which is extremely likely. Many people I know have purchased fake IDs through Bitcoin which confirms it is most definitely used for drugs as well. People were learning how to purchase bitcoins in order to buy the IDs. Bitcoins are worth more than dollars which decrease the value of a dollar. Bitcoins are worth more because it is what the inventor wanted it to be which led the rest of the world to believe it without questioning it. Bitcoins are saved on a hard drive once obtained, which again has no physical value. The value is solely in people’s heads because it is what we are taught to believe.
Manson, (2017) makes a good point by pointing out that people essentially pay for the experience of things. Even when you purchase a materialistic item, you are purchasing the experience that comes with using it. It is interesting that the people of Yap only seemed to care about the acknowledgement that other people had of their wealth. Even though the money was used to purchase things for the experience as well, their stones represented their wealth while experiences represent ours.
It is impossible to literally learn the value of the dollar because there is no real value. Any day from today someone else can decide to invent a new currency in which all the people agree to use. It is solely up to the people what money is. The last time money was a physical thing was when we used gold. I cannot grasp why something abstract is so important to everybody. It is very shocking yet interesting to learn about the history of money. It is also intriguing to think about how monetary systems have come a long way since using stones.