If you show me the cash
Today's topic is money. I know you love money. If I say I can give a million dollars to the first 1000 people who email me, you'll probably think you're damn lucky because only around 5 people visit my website each day. But of course, I don't have that much money, so I can't fulfill my previous statements. Still, I think that the money will make you happy, if I have it.
But the funny thing is that I know quite a number of people who have the money, but aren't happy. Lots of people work 100 hours a week trying to get as much money as they can (or to hang on to their jobs).. Some of these folks love their jobs, but I can assure you that a lot of these folks hate them too. Now why would you want to spend your life doing something that you don't like? For the money. On the other hand, why is that a lot of us are happiest when we don't get paid for our services, like when we're doing volunteering work? What is this force which we call money, which permeates our being for the rest of lives, who begs us to bring them into our own bank accounts? Why do we need more money than we need, and why does money seem to offer us security and prestige? Why are their different social classes based on you level of income? Must we really buy branded stuff to blend in with the crowd? Is money all there is? Is money the reason why we're alive? What the hell is money anyway?
What money is.
You go to Macdonald's. "A happy meal please." The guy at the counter gives you to food. You give him some paper. Paper? Which is more valuable, paper or food? In this case, the pieces of paper is generally known as money; so the guy accepts it. You may ask, "Now why does he think that my paper is just as valuable as the happy meal?" If you're in America, maybe it's because of the words at the back of the paper, "IN GOD WE TRUST" Seriously, money in itself has at most the intrinsic value of the paper pulp. But the thing that makes paper into money is this thing called confidence. The guy at Macs knows that the paper you just passed him can be used to exchange stuff in the future. Who provides the confidence? Believe it or not, it's Bill Clinton. And the guys at the Fed, the Pentagon, the Treasury...the American people. I'm in Singapore now, so the confidence of the Singapore dollar depends on the stability of my country in general. Confidence is linked to a currency's worth, like in Indonesia, where riots and uprising last year caused the value of the Indonesian currency to plunge by half. So, it's really important that we trust God in this aspect, to keep the value up, y'know.
Some folks say money has been the most ingenious invention of mankind. In the old days, people exchange goods and services without using paper. They use 'real stuff', like you polish my shoes for me, and I'll give a whole pig. Something like that. Later when people knew about precious metals like silver and stuff, they exchanged metals. But like all heavy metal, it's not too good for the ears after a while. So, people deposited their gold or silver with the goldsmith, and exchanged the goldsmith's receipts instead. I mean, the receipts are as good as the real metal, assuming the goldsmith doesn't run away. Pretty clever, eh?
Nowadays, if my research is accurate, we don't really have that much gold or silver with the goldsmith to back our currency up. So, money nowadays doesn't promise to exchange for precious metals when you bring it to the goldsmith. Instead, if you take out your money now, you'll see, "this note is legal tender...to settle debts...to pay fines...to buy over people...to ruin relationships...to be happy." Of course that's what not what you really would see, but you get my drift.
To be continued when I've more time...and more money...probably in June...
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