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blake303 (29.51)

The Island of Stone Money

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December 10, 2010 – Comments (7)

Don't have much time for an intro, but this is a really interesting piece on what qualifies as currency.

"So imagine there's this great big stone disc sitting in a village. One person gives it to another person. But the stone doesn’t move. It's just that everybody in the village knows the stone now has a new owner.

In fact, the stone doesn't even need to be on the island to count as money.

One time, according to the island's oral tradition, a work crew was bringing was bringing a giant stone coin back to yap on a boat. And just before they got back to the island, they hit a big storm. The stone wound up on the bottom of the ocean.

The crew made it back to the island and told everybody what happened. And everybody decided that the piece of stone money was still good — even though it was on the bottom of the ocean.

"So somebody today owns this piece of stone money, even though nobody's seen it for over 100 years or more,” Fitzgerald says.

This system, in the end, feels really familiar. If you go online to pay your electric bill, what’s really changing in the world?" 

 

7 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On December 10, 2010 at 2:41 PM, lemoneater (79.26) wrote:

Very enjoyable. Thanks!

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#2) On December 11, 2010 at 11:14 AM, rofgile (99.33) wrote:

Good segment - thanks.  I wish we still used big stones rather than gold (which requires toxic mercury and cyanide wastes, as well as other mining damages).  

 -Rof 

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#6) On December 15, 2010 at 12:58 AM, tekennedy (70.59) wrote:

@rofgile- I wish big stones were valuable as well, I currently own an aggregates company.

@blake- thanks for sharing, interesting example

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