The Reality of Money

Is money real? Only if you believe it is... Suppose you have a counterfeit twenty in your wallet, only you don't know it's counterfeit. You take it into a store and spend it, the clerk doesn't know it's counterfeit and you make your purchase. Was the money real? Did it have value? The answer is yes, it has value until someone believes that it doesn't... This is true of all money and all property and "assets" and this belief is what runs our economy. Not true?

What about collectibles? Why is a mint condition silver dollar dated 1868 worth so much? Because of inflation? No because someone believes it will be worth even more in the future. Lets say you find a type of lunch box from the early fifties. Only six are known to exist, a collector tells you it's worth $10,000 maybe more... So you decide to sell it at an auction next month. You've got it made right? What happens if a week before the auction someone discovers four thousand lunchboxes just like yours, except in better condition in an abandoned warehouse in Chicago? You get squat and so do the investors who have the other five boxes...

Consider the great depression, it never should have happened. Why did it? Because people lost their faith. Nothing changed the day the markets collapsed. All the buildings still stood, all the machinery still operated, all the cash still existed. If everyone just went to work the next day and acted as if nothing happened production would have continued. The standard argument is that everyone lost everything they ever worked for, but what was lost? Nothing everything still existed. Somebody got all the cash, somebody still owned the buildings, factories and land. Somebody still owned all the warehouses full of merchandise.

Yet our entire economy collapsed because of a poker game called the stock market, because some rich people lost their ass, because everybody believed that this game was reality... Had I been alive back then I would have been buying all those stocks up at pennies on the dollar and would have become very rich in the process. The real culprit in the pre-depression era wasn't the market, it was credit people borrowed against their assets to invest in something that wasn't real and lost them when they couldn't repay. So still someone won the game, someone owned everything when it was done and over.

Let's consider other things of value for instance Real Estate, lots of people make fortunes in Real estate, It's easy buy low sell high Right? What affects the value of real estate, people are always complaining that those kind of people or that kind of business will lower their real estate values. Well lets say you have your dream house and you plan to live there the rest of your life. Shit happens and real estate values in your area drop. Has this hurt you? Do you still live in your dream house? Has it changed in any way? If you examine the bottom line, being stable and stationary it has helped you in the short and long run. How, if you can't get your money back out of your house? You never intended to sell your house so decreased property values have lowered your property taxes, you see the government has been hurt. What about your neighbors? If they are stable and here to stay they made out also. So who loses? The government and the investors, the ones who are gambling on values, the ones who had money to begin with usually the rich or the foolish...

Still we must continue, In our current economy money is no longer in the driver's seat. Everything is about credit and debts. Credit cards are debt, checks are a promise to pay, money itself has no fixed value since we left the gold standard decades ago. Wall street trades debt, banks buy debt, in essence today's money is represented by a series of electronic transactions and moves around the world electronically in the form of debt. Perhaps the time has come to embrace the concept of electronic money.

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