[LMB] Money, Sharing Knife

Damien Sullivan phoenix at mindstalk.net
Thu Nov 19 23:03:22 GMT 2020


On Thu, Nov 19, 2020 at 09:25:20PM +0000, WILLIAM A WENRICH wrote:

> People have been hawking gold and silver for years saying that it will never lose its value.

Which is obviously false for at least one of them, since silver used to
be much more valuable relative to gold than it is now.

> The value of precious metals depends on circumstances. Spain’s economy was hurt by the influx of gold from the Americas.

I think the influx of silver was the bigger culprit, but otherwise yes.
It made Spain rich in purchasing power but destroyed the productive
economy.  We see something similar today with oil, probably tourism in
some places.  Economic terms are "the resource curse" and "Dutch
disease".

> The value of any currency depends upon people willing to accept it.

Yep.

At least, the value in exchange of any currency.  Some monies have had
intrinsic use-value: early money included weights of barley or (later, in
Japan) of rice.  POW camp or prison money has often converged on
cigarettes (useful to the addicts).  Bolts of linen were usable as money
in ancient Egypt, cotton in Mesoamerica.

But the trend for complicated economies has been to move away from tying up
useful resources as money.

-xx- Damien X-)


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