The idea of carrying around a large stone, fei, by the people of Yap makes you reevaluate what exactly money is. The way they based their wealth on trust caused me to no longer think of money as a physical object, but a representation of value. The concept of hauling around large worthless stones seems completely unnecessary to most of us. It seems absurd that a family can be wealthy for generations because of a fei that is allegedly somewhere in the bottom of the sea. But, it becomes not so crazy when you look at our concept of money. Like the fei of Yap we use worthless material to represent value. For some reason we decided pieces of green paper represent wealth, like the people of Yap decided stones would represent it for them. The only difference is that we decided to choose something small enough to fit in our pockets and easily carry around. We are similar to the people of Yap when it comes to trust when you look at how most of us never have or will see or touch the money in our banks.
The point of money is to represent something of value. Similar to when people trade cows for things they needed, we trade money for necessities. Money is like a cow, except instead of being valuable because of its ability to produce milk and eventually meat its value comes from the ability exchange it for things you need. There would be no real value behind our dollars if they were not accepted in exchange for valuable items. Something had to be chosen to represent worth and it just so happens that the US decided it would be pieces of green paper not large stones.