Exercise: Try to Say Something

In-class Exercise THU JAN 19, 2012

First, launch the handout “Try to Say Something,” from this link or from the sidebar category Required Reading. Study the handout carefully before beginning the exercise.

Then, examine the sentences below for wastefulness, vagueness, or confusion. Improve each numbered comment by rewriting for clarity and specificity. In most cases, you’ll need to clarify or add details from the source materials about Yap and its money, or about Brazil and its innovative cure for inflation.

Instructions:
To do the exercise, make a Reply to this post. You don’t need to copy or paste the original comments. Simply number your improvements so I can match them up with the originals. In most cases, I’ve provided two sentences per comment in order to offer more context for the ideas presented. Your improved versions can be as many sentences as you consider necessary.

Complete as many of the following as you can during the class period.

  1. Even if what money stands for is never seen, the fact that society accepts it, makes the representing factor important.
  2. The idea of the fei seems irrational to most people who are told the story of the Island of Stone Money and Yap’s form of currency because it is. But to compare this to currency of more developed countries and say that it is the same concept is not right.
  3. Some people might say that the idea of carrying big rock around and exchanging it as a form of money is irrational saying it’s just a rock what sort of backing or worth does a rock have. Well if you look at our money its the same concept it’s just a colorful piece of paper.
  4. It had been my understanding that in today’s societies, money is really just a system of numbers that has arbitrary values depending on the society. Like why would five gold coins have more worth in one country than another? There is no method of precisely measuring the value of money.
  5. To me, the most interesting thing about Yap isn’t that they use giant stone discs as money, but that their ownership works on a trust system. It is superficially similar to how we store our money in banks, but banks are also highly secured and regulated by the government.
  6. But, when I began to think about it more i thought about the way we represent wealth. In so many ways the fei for the people of Yap is the same as our currency.
  7. It was understood by the people of Yap that the fei, since they were often large and heavy, did not need to be in the possession of its owner; the Western world acknowledges this idea by imposing banking systems.
  8. When someone uses their credit or debit card, there is a similar process of realizing the fact the wealth is no longer theirs and belongs to someone else. We never actually physically hand over the money.
  9. Money does not represent amount of work done, an amount of gold in America’s bank, food or social status. Wealth is to have a lot of money, but if money is meaningless, that would say the same for wealth.
  10. Money itself does not seen to have any value if it is not used on peoples’ need, it is just a form to present value. The characters from the stories view money according to their standard value that have been set and agree by their society.

About davidbdale

Inventor of and sole practitioner of 299-word Very Short Novels. www.davidbdale.wordpress.com
This entry was posted in In Class Exercise. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Exercise: Try to Say Something

  1. aimelonsdorf says:

    1. Even though the value of which money stands is never seen, the representation factor is important.
    –The value of which money stands? Not sure what the representation factor is.

    2. The idea of the fei seems irrational when compared to more developed currency.
    –The idea of the fei? Or just the fei? Or is it the size of the fei?

    3. When it comes to currency, owning a large stone and carrying multiple pieces of paper are inherently the same.
    –Why multiple pieces of paper?

    4. In today’s societies, money is an arbiturary system. There is no concise method of measuring the value of money.
    This is certainly much better, but still doesn’t make much sense. Probably not your fault.

    5. The people of yap represent currency based on large stones that rely on a trust system, similar to modern day banking systems.
    Much better also, but what does it mean to represent currency? Isn’t currency itself representative?

    6. The fei is the Yap version of our paper currency.
    –Nice.

    7. Both the Western world and the people of Yap rely on a trust system in regards to their money.
    –In regard to their money is unclear. Rely on a trust system to track their wealth?

    8. Although no money is physically handed over when using a credit or debit card, it is recognized that their has been a transaction.
    –Beautiful job here (except you mean “there” has been a transaction).

    9. Both money and wealth are meaningless.
    –We don’t have to agree with this statement to recognize your version is superior. 🙂

    10. Money is a form used to present a value.
    –Is a form doesn’t add meaning. Money represents value.

    Your work is quite good, Aime, despite my many notes. –David Hodges

  2. allyhodgson93 says:

    2. The idea of the fei seems irrational to most people who are told the story of the Island of Stone Money and Yap’s form of currency because it is not a similar concept to most developed countries.
    –This is an improvement, Ally, but the grammar at the end compares the currency to developed countries. That can’t be right.

    3. Most would argue the Yap people are irrational because fei has no worth to outsiders, when in reality, our money has no worth to outsiders either.
    –That’s quite clever, Ally.

    4. Money is really just a system of numbers that has arbitrary values depending on the society because there is no method of precisely measuring the value of money.
    –This still doesn’t make much sense, but it’s not your fault. Yours is better stated.

    5. The most interesting thing about the Yap isn’t that they use giant stone discs as money, but that use a trust system very much like our own.
    –Much better.

    6. We represent wealth very similarly to the people of Yap.
    –I love it.

    9. Money does not represent an amount of work done, an amount of gold in America’s bank, food or social status. Since money is does not represent anything, wealth also does not represent anything.
    –Maybe there’s just no way to improve this one. 🙂

    Nice work, Ally! –David Hodges

  3. 2. The idea of the stone currency know as fei on the island of Yap seems irrational to most people who are told the story due to the large size lack of convenience of the stone money in comparison to currency of more developed countries, but to say that the two forms of currency are the same may not be an accurate statement.
    –I appreciate that you want to specify what makes the fei seem irrational, Jesse, but what does “large size lack of convenience” mean? Also, what two forms of currency are compared? –David Hodges

  4. joeymleczko says:

    6. After reviewing that the people of Yap represent value with large stones, I became aware of the fact that Americans are similar in that dollar bills represent value.
    –Yes, that’s much more specific.

    8. The use of a credit or debit card preforms an actual, but not tangible process, which involves moving wealth from the buyer’s bank account, to the seller’s.
    –A vast improvement, Joe, but eliminate all three commas and change which to that.

    1. Money is a representation of anything a society deems valuable. Therefore, even if the money holder does not possess the item being represented, society approves that their money holds value.
    –Oh, so that’s what you meant by “the representing factor”! 🙂

    3. Saying that “Using large rocks as money is irrational” is the same as saying “The use of a “paper” bill is irrational.” They both only hold the value of what they represent, not what they’re made of.
    –That’s good work. Single quotes around paper, please, because it’s already inside double quotes.

    Very nice work overall, Joe. –David Hodges

  5. sturdi36 says:

    1. The fact that our society does not know what money stands for and accepts it, makes the representing factor and important.
    –Great start, Tikeena, but I don’t understand the second clause at all.

    2. The idea of the fei seems irrational to most people, however, to compare this to currency of more developed countries is not right.
    –What is the “idea of the fei”? And what is the “this” you’re comparing? Also, a semicolon is needed before the however.

    3. Some people might agree that carrying a big rock around and exchanging it as a form of money is irrational, simply because its just a rock. Moreover, if one looked at our money and use the same concept, it would just be a colorful piece of paper.
    –The first sentence is quite nice, Tikeena. “It’s” needs an apostrophe though. I like “moreover” because it makes an equivalency comparison, but I don’t understand “use the same concept.” Maybe you mean “applied the same logic”?

    Good improvements overall, Tikeena. –David Hodges

  6. tcorrao says:

    1. Although we don’t know what money stands for, the representing factor is important because society accepts it.
    –In your version, we could replace “the representing factor” with the word “money” and the clause would make sense. Money is important because society accepts it. So why do we need the words “the representing factor” at all? What do you think?

    4. To my understanding, money is a system of numbers that arbitrary values depending on society. There is no method to measuring the value of money because each country does not measure the value of money the same.
    –Um . . . huh? There’s no method to measuring because each country uses a different method to measure? Doesn’t that mean there are many methods (instead of no method) for measuring money? Maybe you mean there’s no standard or universally accepted method.

    You and I can work together on making clear claims any time you want, Tabitha. Just say when. –David Hodges

  7. dalehamstra27 says:

    8. When someone uses their credit or debit card, there is a process which is similar to the one from the island of Yap in the way that all participants realize the fact that the wealth has changed hands even though there has been no physical exchange.
    –That’s really fine, Dale! 🙂 Since you already say things clearly, let me help you say them more economically. Eliminate the people first (someone uses their) whenever possible; eliminate also any unnecessary if/then and when/then constructions (when . . . there is a process); eliminate extraneous “the fact that” and similar statements (which is similar to the one form . . . in the way that). “Swiping a credit card is like painting an X on a fei, in that wealth has changed hands without a physical exchange.”

    10. Money itself does not seem to have any value if it is not used on the needs of the people. Money is just a symbol of wealth. The islanders of Yap view money on the standards that have been agreed upon by their society.
    –Your language is much cleaner, but I’d still be challenged to paraphrase the second sentence or explain it to someone else. Could you, Dale?

    6. However, when I began to think more about the concept of money, I realized that our form of currency is very similar to that of the people of Yap.
    –Sort of, but if I’m picky (and I’m picky), I’ll object that it’s the concept that’s similar, the form is exactly what’s dissimilar.

    2. It would not be rational to compare the monetary system on the island of Yap to the monetary systems of more developed countries.
    –Brilliantly, economically phrased, Dale. But why would you say such a thing?

    7. The banking system is the modern day version of the idea that the fei did not have to be in physical ownership of someone to belong to them.
    –A big improvement over the original! Is the banking system an idea? Number problem: someone/them. How about: “Just as the Yap owned fei too big to carry on their person, we own the money in our bank accounts without having physical possession of it.”

    Take heart, Dale. When you’re as good as you are, I will nitpick you even more. 🙂 –David Hodges

  8. apdm3 says:

    1. Even though one cannot visibly see what our money represents, our society as a whole has been able to accept and identify with the value of our currency.
    –Hey, that’s really nice, Ashley (except for “visibly see” :))!

    2. Many people think the Yap’s form of currency seems irrational, as they used the system of fei which consisted of exchanging large stones for wealth. This currency system should not be compared to those currencies of more developed countries.
    –This is clear and admirable, Ashley. It could be and should be more economical as well. “Many people think the Yaps’ exchanging of large stones as currency is irrational.” For “as currency,” you could substitute “as a way to transfer wealth,” depending on which one you meant, or which one you hadn’t used in the previous sentence.

    3. The large stones that were used as fei did not contain the actual value that they were conveyed to be. Similarly, our money we use today essentially is not about the literal bill or coin, but rather what it represents. The physical value of a one dollar bill is no more than that of a one hundred dollar bill, yet the two bills represent a vast difference in capital.
    –In general, again, I have a better idea what you’re talking about than I did reading the original, but phrases like “contain the actual value that they were conveyed to be” still need work. (And you flipped your bills; you mean the hundred is worth no more physically than the one, not the other way around.)

    4. Money is subjective in and relative to separate societies or environments. Five gold coins may have more worth in one country than another, just like five dollars in one grocery store contains a different value than five dollars in a separate grocery store.
    –Huh! Wow! Yeah! Even within the same country and society—same town, different neighborhood—same store, different day—money is worth generally what the society believes it to be worth, but specifically what the two parties to the exchange agree it’s worth. Very nicely explained, Ashley!

    5. The Yaps did not need to have physical ownership of their fei which they’ve acquired in order to prove their wealth. Similarly, we have money in banks which we don’t physically own or typically ever actually see, yet this money is apart of our wealth.
    –Very nice. It’s unclear whether your “which they’ve acquired” refers forward to “in order to prove their wealth” or backwards to “their fei.” It’s not useful anyway; I’d lose it.

    6. There are many similarities between our currency and the currency of the Yap, as both use physical objects to simply represent the value of wealth that has been acquired.
    –Again I’m not sure why you feel the need to stress the “that has been acquired,” Ashley, but otherwise this is very nice indeed.

    7. Just as money is used in our current banking systems, the large fei of the Yap did not have to be in possession of the owner. Both the fei and money are simply symbolic representation of value.
    –Awesome. 🙂

    8. When money is transferred through debit or credit card, wealth is representatively transferred from one person to another.
    So impressive I’m almost silenced, but wait! 🙂 You’ll hate me for this. When money is transferred, wealth is transferred, means money is wealth, right? So, what’s the meaning of the sentence? When Ashley writes well, my student writes well. (Ashley = my student) But you say: When Ashley writes well, my student representatively writes well. Or would it be more correct to say: When Ashley writes well, my students write well (since Ashley represents my students)? I’m only asking to keep you focused. You couldn’t have done the job much better than you did. 🙂

    Very nice work. –David Hodges

  9. tonyshilling says:

    1. A national acceptance of what money is will usually define how it can be used, what the forms of currency represent, and can have positive or detrimental effects on the society’s social aspects.
    –That’s nice, Tony. Your version says much more than the original, but it’s certainly interesting. The small grammar problem is hard to describe, but let’s say your series is not pure. Does that help?

    2. Fei and the concept of limestone money can seem irrational to audiences as a general audience is used to their previously established forms of commerce, enough to find this primitive manner bizarre.
    –Do you mean stone money seems absurdly primitive to people who use paper money and credit cards? I’ll be very happy when you start saying so. 🙂

    3. Readers will argue that fei cannot be considered money because of their own personal interpretations of net worth and limestone, based on their society’s established systems. Yet these people fail to recognize that the piece of paper with the number “20” printed on them are worth even less, and that it is what the paper represents is the value.
    –This is much better, Tony. To eliminate the pejorative “these people,” refer to your people just once: Readers who don’t consider the fei real money because they are accustomed to dollars fail to recognize . . . .” Something like that.

    4. Money, the physical object (object as per what a different society utilizes as currency), is nothing more than a placeholding number representational of what the specific society’s valuable assets are. Thus, as each society views worth differently, the representational Euros and Dollars would not share an equivalent.
    –There’s a very nice idea in here, Tony. Worth (and wealth) lies in what the society values; the value can be measured in money, which can also be used to trade for value. The yard sale value of an item is much lower than the ebay value of an item because ebay reaches a bigger society of buyers to prize the item.

    5. In Yap, the accepted manner of “banking” is a trust system, in which say someone uses a stone to purchase something, but the stone is too large to move, the population recognizes that the stone has shifted ownership. This can seem strange to different societies such as America, in which a banking system with physical deposits is the more accepted manner of transaction.
    –That’s well said, Tony. Your speculation could be streamlined. ” . . . in which seller can receive a stone too large to move from a buyer without taking physical possession . . . .” That sort of thing?

    6. Regardless of their systems, the Yap’s fei does share rather remarkable philosophic similarities with the United States’ dollar, as both are merely representational and the physical objected being transacted is not of value.
    –Brilliant.

    7. The manner of the Western World is the use of a banking system, in which money is physically deposited and withdrawn and as it is, either the bank’s or the individual’s wealth will increase or decrease (though for the bank, this is not a profit matter) physically, but not representationally. Yap is similar, yet relies on trusts with the understanding that someone may be in possession of another’s fei, but it is still that person’s fei.
    –Whose person owns what is a little unclear here, but everything else is quite nice!

    8. Credit cards are an even more complex manner of money transaction, and much more similar to the trust system of the fei, where nothing but a number is being exchanged, yet is recognized that someone is poorer and someone is richer (in a monetary manner).
    –I agree entirely that credit cards depend more on trust than cash or debit cards do, but is that how they’re more like fei? I’m not sure the Yap used credit.

    Very nice work, Tony! –David Hodges

  10. stillt27 says:

    1. Even though society does not understand the value of money, the fact that society accepts whatever it is money stands for makes money important to them.
    –I like your plain language approach, Tyson! Just one thing: you use “society” as a singular noun (with accepts) and as a plural noun (with them). You can’t do both.

    2. The idea of comparing the currency of more developed countries today and the currency of the Yap’s isn’t right. Even though the fei to most people today is irrational, it doesn’t mean it is considered the same as our currency today.
    –This starts well and finishes poorly. That last clause is extremely confusing.

    3. The idea of carrying a rock around might be irrational to people who doesn’t understand the story of the Island of Stone Money, but it is similar to today’s time where our version of money is considered better looking and we think we understand our value.
    –Be careful not to mix time and where, Tyson. This is a time when. That was a place where. Try to avoid extra ideas and facts too. “Carrying a rock around might seem irrational” is every bit as complete as “the idea of carrying a rock around might seem irrational.” The “idea” adds nothing.

    6. The currency of the Yap’s seems to be the same as our currency regarding the way we look at wealth and the value of or money or what we have as an idea of what money represents.
    –This is much too abstract. “Fei are just like dollars; they’re physically worthless, but they represent the power to buy things.”

    Plain language is always a good choice, Tyson, but it has to be very clear. –David Hodges

  11. evan horner says:

    1. Because society accepts what backs money, that makes it an important representing factor even though no one has ever seen it.
    –I love the simplicity of this, Evan. But what does “that makes it” mean?

    2. Most people who are told the Island of Stone Money story find the Yap’s idea of currency “the Fei” ridiculous. To compare the fei to a more developed countries form of currency is irrational.
    –You really are quite good at getting to the point. Punctuation note: “a more developed country’s currency.”

    3. Why would five gold coins have more worth in one country that another? Because money is a system of numbers that has arbitrary value depending on the society. Therefore there is no method of precisely measuring the value of money.
    –This is said very nicely. We disagree about the conclusion. (Or maybe we agree and you’re just being faithful to the original.) Both of your societies have pretty precise methods, they just have different values. 🙂

    Very nice work, Evan. –David Hodges

  12. oteroj40 says:

    6. I began to analyze that we use money to set a value to someone’s wealth and I came to the conclusion that fei and dollars both represent wealth in the same fashion.
    –Very nice! Simple and clear.

    8. The use of a debit or credit card, like the trade of fei, yields in the a non-physical transfer of wealth to another person.
    –Almost brilliant, but it fails in the “yields in the a non-physical” neighborhood. Needs work.

    3. While some people might say that the idea of carrying and exchanging big rocks as a form of money is irrational, who’s to say that the exchange of colorful pieces of paper isn’t just as ridiculous?
    –Just terrific.

    I’m a big fan of clear speech, Jon, and you seem to know just how to make things clear. All you need now is brilliant ideas and you’ll be an overachiever! Very nice work. –David Hodges

  13. samsarlo says:

    Sam Sarlo

    1.Money is only valuable because it is universally accepted to be exchangeable for goods and services.
    –Fantastic.

    2.Although the monetary systems of Yap and of more developed nations may seem equally irrational, they are not closely comparable concepts.
    –Beautifully accurate translation of a likely false statement.

    3. Although it may seem irrational to a paper money-accustomed American, the cumbersome stone money of Yap is conceptually similar to our currency.
    –Fantastic.

    4.Although money supposedly quantifies value, value is often immeasurable.
    –I think you mean unmeasurable (or measured by different scales in different markets.) Otherwise fantastic.

    5. The idea from this broadcast that interests me the most is the trust system that governs the ownership of fei. Unlike developed countries, Yap has no need for government regulated currency storage in highly secured bank vaults.
    –Fantastic. Doesn’t merely paraphrase the original; your version makes a valuable comparison as well.

    Very nice work, Sam. –David Hodges

  14. langer278 says:

    1.Even if what money stands for is never seen, the fact that society accepts money as value and follows along with using it makes the representation of money as a valuable source of payment important.
    –This is a good try, Brett, but it’s not much clearer than the original. Your phrases “follows along with using it” and “the representation of money as a valuable source of payment” could be much simpler and straightforward. You and I can certainly talk about this sentence in particular or about writing for clarity in general, any time you like.

    10. Money doesn’t hold a value unless it is used for peoples’ needs and wants. It’s just an object to represent value. The Yap Island set their rocks as valuable by the people of the society just as the French and United States did with their gold.
    –I sense you may be trying to write academically, Brett, but I promise you it’s not necessary. Simple and clear is always your best bet. Instead of “Money doesn’t hold a value,” say “Money isn’t valuable.” Instead of “set their rocks as valuable by the people of the society,” try “set a value for their rocks.” There’s nothing wrong with simple and clear; let your ideas be complex, not your language.

    8. When someone uses their debit or credit card there is a knowledge that the value and wealth is no longer as high as it was with the card before the purchase. There is never an actual handing over of the money that the card represents, but the fact people understand the value of the card has decreased is important to determining their wealth.
    –This one’s clearer. It could also be briefer, if you’re willing to try that too. “Credit and debit card users know each purchase reduces their wealth,” for example. “They don’t hand over cash, but they know they’ve incurred a debt or reduced their bank balance.” This takes practice, but it’s worth the effort.

    6. After pondering more on the subject of what wealth is and how we represent it, I figured that the people of the Yap Island with their large fei rocks create a source of currency very similar to the United States currency of dollar bills.
    –Very nice, Brett.

    7. It was understood by the Yap people that holding possession of the large fei rocks wasn’t important to their source of wealth as long as it was understood that the wealth was theirs. The western part of the world acknowledges this way of thinking with banking systems that hold onto peoples’ wealth.
    –This is good too, a little wordy but clear. Could you improve on “wasn’t important to their source of wealth”?

    9. Money doesn’t represent amount of work done, gold in the bank, food or social status in anyway, it’s just meaningless, making wealth meaningless as well.
    –Any way should be two words here, Brett, and needs a semicolon. Other than that, you’ve done a nice job of clarifying the original.

    Some nice work here, Brett. I hope I was helpful. –David Hodges

  15. choffman17 says:

    1. Even if the value of what money represents is not physical and never seen, whatever society determines to be its value decides what its representation is worth.
    –I see you’re trying to be faithful to the original, Cassie, but that bit about what its representation is worth still doesn’t make any sense. The rest of your sentence is clear.

    2. The idea of the fei seems irrational to most people who are told the story of the Island of Stone Money and Yap’s form of currency because it is not a realistic currency system; it is based solely off of agreed transfer of ownership of the fei between traders, rather than a physical exchange of money. To compare this to currency of more developed countries and say that it is the same concept is not accurate because more developed countries keep a physical track of currency exchange by using dollars, euros, yen, rupees, etc.
    –This is much more specific and detailed, Cassie. That’s step one nicely accomplished. Step two would be to cut the fat. Are you up to it? Cruise through your classmates’ version of 2. Hint: “Yap’s currency seems unrealistic for any large society because it depends on every citizen knowing what everyone owns.”

    3. Some people might say that the idea of carrying a big rock around and exchanging it as a form of money is irrational because it’s just a rock, but in reality, the same can be said about our dollar; just as one may question what sort of backing or worth a rock has, one could just as easily question what backing or worth a dollar –just a colorful piece of paper–has.
    –Clearly stated, Cassie. Wordy, but nicely stated. 🙂

    4. Money is really just a system of numbers that has arbitrary values depending on the society it is used in because there is no method of precisely measuring the value of money. For example, five gold coins may have more worth in one country as opposed to another, but the market value of those gold coins in each country is equivalent to the coins’ worth in that country’s currency.
    –Let me try one: The numbers used to value wealth seem arbitrary, but they’re achieved by consensus. The local market determines the value of gold, which won’t be identical to its value in other markets.

    5. The most interesting thing about Yap isn’t that they use giant stone discs as money, but that their ownership works on a trust system between themselves as traders. While their trust system can be considered similar to our custom of storing our money in banks — therefore “trusting” banks with our money — they still differ because banks are highly secured and regulated by the government, unlike trades between citizens on Yap.
    –This is nice, Cassie. Again, I’ve read briefer versions that seem equally or nearly as complete, but you did cover all the details and make yourself understood.

    6. When the idea of wealth and how we represent it is taken into account, it seems that the use of fei for the people of Yap is the same concept as the use of our currency — we use it to numerically measure our wealth or buying power.
    –If this were your own, I’d want you to be ruthless, Cassie. The use of fei is a concept? The use of our currency is a concept? If you can cut half of this, I invite you to do so.

    7. It was understood by the people of Yap that the fei, since they were often large, heavy, and difficult to transport, did not need to be in the physical possession of their owners; the Western world functions similarly by imposing banking systems, where the money we possess is not actually in our hands, but in a bank account somewhere that represents how much money we have decided to store there.
    –I like this very much.

    8. When we use a credit or debit card, we are still aware that we transfer ownership of our money to someone else in exchange for items we want or need even though we never actually physically hand over the money.
    –Trim ten words and this will be much better. To clarify, though, debit cards transfer wealth immediately. Credit card use is a promise to make payment later. The merchant gets paid right away. The credit card company loses wealth. But the card user doesn’t pay until he pays his bill.

    Good clear writing, Cassie. Work on brevity next. –David Hodges

  16. martyb68 says:

    Marty Bell

    2. The people of Yap’s idea of the round stones called fei as their currency seems irrational to most people who hear the story of how they travel hundreds of miles just to obtain these sometimes large and extremely hard to move stones. When you compare this to more developed countries who use a form of currency that is easy to carry around and obtain you can not say it is the same concept.
    –I have no trouble understanding what you’re saying, Marty, and you’ve made the claims much more specific. Now, if you want to improve the original even more, find ways to paraphrase that trim the fat from the language. For example, instead of “The people of Yap’s idea of the round stones called fei as their currency,” you could say, “The Yaps’ use of large round stones called fei as currency.”

    3. Some people may might say the concept of carrying a large round stone, called a fei, around and exchanging it as a form of money is irrational because it is just a worthless stone with no backing. Well when you look at our colorful pieces of paper as a form of money you could also say that it is worthless and a piece of paper has no backing.
    –Another example: “People who claim that trading large worthless stones for valuable goods is irrational would have to admit that trading colorful pieces of equally worthless paper is just as irrational.” I hope this seems like an improvement to you and that you’ll be willing to consider it a model.

    5. To me, the most interesting thing about Yap is not their fei that they use as money, but the fact that someone could have never seen or touched a particular fei and yet the people still trust someone who claims to have the wealth of that fei. It is very similar to how we have money in the bank that we never see or touch, but yet someone can still purchase things of value because of the trust that someone has the money in the bank.
    –“The most interesting thing about the Yap is their faith in a fei they’ve never seen and the wealth of its owner.” Does that version seem worth trying to achieve? I hope so, but it’s your call, Marty. I won’t bug you about it if you’re not interested.

    My interest in clarity and brevity may seem trivial, but I’m available to work with you on them. –David Hodges

  17. Blueitem (Jon G.) says:

    1. Money’s value is not determined by what it is or represents–whether that be dollars backed by gold, URVs backed by cruzeiros, or giant discs of stone backed by simply being–but by the society that accepts it and gives it a value.
    –Really nicely said, Jon. Maybe the fei are “backed by” the effort of quarrying, carving, and transporting them?

    5. The most striking thing about the Yap economy is not that they use massive stone discs as money, but that their ownership system doesn’t have any safeguards. In America, we have banks that secure and track money, government agencies that regulate the banks to make sure everyone is being treated fairly, and public media to spread the word when a bank does something unsavory; in Yap, the only way to identify who possesses which stone disc is by shared belief and word of mouth.
    –You’ve made the vague claims of the original much clearer, Jon. Nice work.

    6. When I first heard the story of Yap and the stone money, I was skeptical that it was similar to the way that the United States represents wealth. But deeper thought on the subject led me to believe that these two systems of currency weren’t so different in idea or implementation.
    –Initially skeptical, I soon concluded that the Yap use stone money to represent wealth much as we use dollars. Right?

    8. When someone uses a credit card, the electronic exchange of money is equivalent to the change in known possession of the Yap’s fei. Just as we never physically handle or exchange the money, the Yap don’t physically move or mark the fei.
    –That’s very nice, Jon.

    Really good work, Jon. –David Hodges

  18. jahne92 says:

    6. The fei for the people of Yap and the dollar for us are similar in representing wealth.
    –Yep. Says what it needs to say, clearly and briefly. 🙂

    8. Using a credit or debit card the money is transferring from ones wealth to another’s wealth without the act of physically handing money over.
    –Your brevity is admirable, but who does what is not quite clear, Eddie. This will take practice. “Using a credit or debit card transfers the user’s wealth to another, without either handling money.” Clearer?

    7. The fei and a bank account are used to represent your wealth because it has your name on it.
    –Not my wealth, Eddie. Please eliminate all unnecessary uses of “you.” And by that I mean almost every use of “you.” Plus, the fei doesn’t have anybody’s name on it.

    Some very nice work here, Eddie. –David Hodges

  19. nanacao says:

    Money in the form of currency does not seen to have a set value when it is not used on the need of people such as buying. It is only a form to keep track of the value amount of stuff people can get with a specific amount of money. The characters from the stories such as Yap viewed value based on the standard of the beauty and size that the society had set and know of.
    –Rather than rewrite your own comment, Nana, I was hoping you’d accept the challenge of rewriting the numbered comments above. If I were to help you with your language use here, I’d offer this: “Money in the form of currency is valuable only to trade for purchases. We say not that a dollar is worth a loaf of bread but that a loaf of bread is worth a dollar. The people of Yap had fei of different denominations based on their size and beauty.” Does that sound reasonable?

    I hope that helped, Nana. –David Hodges

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s