Wealth and paper money / by kevin murray

We live in an age in which our wealth is typically ascertained by the value of our assets in the form of dollars or whatever the coin of the realm is of that particular nation.   Many people, though, do make the fundamental mistake of seeing dollars in and of themselves as a form of wealth, whereas dollars should more properly be seen as a medium of exchange.  That is to say, that for the most part, dollars are ideally utilized and have been created as a way to monetize assets, goods, labor, and just about anything that can be traded so that both sides to a trade can easily make the exchange thereby using a medium which is both universal as well as having what is considered to be, stability of value.


So then, in modern times, we use dollars or their electronic version of as our genre of monetized assets.  So too, in previous civilizations, money has been represented by shells, or whatever else people found to be suitable, or through physical coins of the realm, or through tradable receipts issued by institutions that behaved as banks of their day, and so on and so forth,.  Yet, before any of this occurred, there was a time, when banking institutions or their equivalencies, or coins, didn't really exist, so that in order for one party to trade with another, some sort of bartering was done, perhaps through the exchange of animals or agricultural products or perhaps something else of value, or even of symbolic representation of value.


In any event, even without money, or some coin of the realm, societies were clearly separated between those that had and those that had not, and that separation was essentially along the lines of what a given party actually owned.  That is to say, people's wealth, and societal wealth, was based upon the property so owned by those people, such as their land, their home, their possessions, and so on and so forth.  So that, in essence, wealth back in the days before money, was displayed by the actual ownership of goods and other material possessions that a given person had or did not have. 


This meant, that the way that one generation of wealth passed on that wealth to the next generation, was by the gifting of their land, or their animals, or their possessions to the next generation; because these very things represented and were, in essence, wealth, and not a symbol of wealth, such as in a dollar bill, but the wealth of something real and tangible, and often of relevant use in the current time and age.


It could then be said, that those that have a substantial amount of wealth in the form of paper or electronic money, should always be a bit wary of that considered version of wealth, for if such a time should come in which for whatever reason, that paper money is devalued substantially over a very short order of time, and done so in a manner that is wholly unexpected, one might find that owning paper money is not now, nor ever really has been the same as owning something that is tangible, real, and has intrinsic worth, in and of itself.