Sunday, September 23, 2012

The “Dollar” Store

   Every now and then I get asked the question “do you have change for $x.xx”. the past, transactions were made and wealth was measured in precious metals, human labor, land, livestock, grains, salt and cowry shells just to name a few but there was always the nagging problem of securing, storing and transporting these forms of wealth. For instance, if land, livestock, grains, salt and human labor is the measure of wealth in my society, I need to pay the huge cost of securing and transporting them but why do that if there is an easier method. In return for a small fee, an institution, government, individual or group of people can store and secure my assets. In addition, I can travel worry free. All I need is a document from the aforementioned entities declaring and confirming the assets I have stored with them and a promise that this document can be used with other institutions, governments, individuals or groups of people whom they have formed an agreement with and accept it as a valid medium of exchange from a well respected, stable and trustworthy entity.
  The US dollar is legal tender here in the United States but this wasn’t always the case as wealth was measured only in the land, precious metals, slaves, grains etc. It took a government promise to redeem a currency the Americans had no faith in in return for accepting the US dollar as a medium of exchange and store of wealth.
  Due to security concerns and the general acceptance of electronic forms of payment today, there is little reason to carry around cash except for use in minor transactions so to politely answer your question, no, I don’t have change for $x.xx because I use a debit card.

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