Stone Money–nj908

Stone Money and Its Relation to
American Money

Located in the Pacific Ocean and in Micronesia, is the Island of Yap. They established a different type of currency than what a person is accustomed to. With no metal on the island, the natives searched for a way to create some sort of currency to aid themselves in transactions. From this, they came up with the idea of ‘stone money’. Stone money is the currency the people of the Island Yap created because they had no previous currency. They took large chunks of limestone and created wheels out of it. The larger the wheel, the more valuable it was. It is not like United states currency being that there is no monetary number that proves you are wealthier than the next person. On the Island of Yap, people are presumed as wealthy because of wheels of limestone that are judged by their size. The more wheels that are owned and the larger they are, the more wealthy that family is. Wealth is not a numerical value on this island; instead, if one decides the size of the wheel is worth the thing being sold then the wheel pays for it. Although it is not physically the same as monetary currency, it is the same idea: trade one thing for another thing.

Goldstein and Kestenbaum’s article “The Island of Stone Money” makes a person think about what money truly is and what even makes it ‘money.’ Because some of the wheels that were created were so large and unable to be moved, their “concrete form of money quickly made the jump to being something very abstract.” In other words, the stone could be traded between people, but it would not move from its spot in the village. A person passing it would just know who it belonged to even though there was no physical name attached to it. It goes even further in the abstract sense that the stone did not even have to be on the island to be considered as money.. Just the very idea that it belonged to someone was enough, and it did not physically have to be in one’s possession to prove it. This is quite exactly the same as electronic money because even when paying a bill or purchasing something, no physical money is removed from your possession because it is just a number on the screen.

In a similar way, in Bruce Bower’s “How an Ancient Stone Money System Works like Cryptocurrency” it describes the stone wheels in an abstract way. Cryptocurrency is a digital asset that allows people to exchange funds all online. This means that no physical money was traded for a transaction. This idea could also be applied to the Island of Yap’s currency because when the wheels were too large, they were not moved. Instead; their ownership just changed like when people transfer money online. “No matter who acquired [the currency], it stayed in its original location” relates to today’s society because money can be transferred from account to account, but the physical currency resides in the bank and stays there. Therefore, the Yap’s form of currency is not so different from ours at all because both forms embody the same exact thing: even when traded from person to person, its origin stays in the same place.

The stone money was created by taking something everyone saw as pretty and turning it into currency. This is just the same in the fact that everyone saw metal to be shiny and pretty, so they figured it could be something that they could barter with. Of course everyone will want to be the person with the most pretty items, so it made sense to them. The stone money is different than monetary currency though because the worthiness of the wheel depends on who you give it to and for what. In Robert Poole’s “The Tiny Island with Human-Sized Money” he explains the origin of this money and its value to the people of Yap. He also explains that this currency does not need to be created anymore because there are already so many wheels around the island. However, to keep tradition in tact “new pieces are occasionally made … to ensure the skills of the past are not forgotten.” On top of this, there are so many stones on the island, and they are not stolen because of the fact that most of them are extremely large. Even with no name tag on them, every person in the village knows who they belong to. This is a way that this type of currency is better than the United State’s because the dollars and coins are easily accessible and can easily be stolen by anyone. With the wheels, it is nearly impossible to move them without being detected. They may even break in the process of trying to move them, so many people strayed away from this idea.

In conclusion, the currency used on the Island of Yap is not that different than the money we use in the United States to buy and trade things. Both types of currency began as physically forms in which they would be in a person’s possession. It was seen that whoever had the most of the currency was the wealthiest. In today’s society, everyone’s money stays in the bank, and transactions are performed online with no physical money in hand. The same goes for the island because the wheels got to be too big to move. With this, the ownership would be traded, but the wheel would remain in the same spot just as the money remains in the bank. Therefore, their idea of money and our idea of money is relatively the same, just with different objects.

References

Bower, Bruce. “How an Ancient Stone Money System Works Like Cryptocurrency.” Sciencenews.org. 28 July 2018. 
https://www.sciencenews.org/article/yap-stone-money-bitcoin-blockchain-cryptocurrency

Goldstein, Jacob, David, Kestenbaum. “The Island of Stone Money” npr.org. 10 December 2010. 
https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2011/02/15/131934618/the-island-of-stone-money

Poole, Robert. “The Tiny Island with Human-Sized Money” bbc.com. 3 May 2018. 
http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20180502-the-tiny-island-with-human-sized-money

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7 Responses to Stone Money–nj908

  1. davidbdale says:

    Thank you, NJ, for posting a fine first draft of your Stone Money essay. I appreciate the opportunity to see it before the deadline, for my sake, for yours, and if things go as I hope, for your classmates also. An important advantage of using a blog for coursework is that your classmates can eavesdrop on the Feedback process and refine their own work accordingly.

  2. davidbdale says:

    I owe you a handwritten Thank You!

  3. davidbdale says:

    Now the fun part NJ. If you read my feedback on Skyblue’s Stone Money post from an earlier semester, you know I’m liable to critique every aspect of your fine work. I’ll make several short Replies in no particular order.

  4. davidbdale says:

    SELF-GUIDED RESEARCH.
    First, I’m delighted that, instead of limiting yourself to the links I provided in the sidebar, you found two beauties on your own, both very recent. I’ve been using this story for several semesters because it’s rich with intriguing concepts, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that others keep discovering the story too and finding it noteworthy.

    Of the two sources you discovered, the Cryptocurrency article was much more valuable. The Human-Sized Money article added charming details about the cultural use of stones, but without advancing very much your comparison between Yap money and American dollars. The Crypto article, though, makes very provocative claims of similarity between the stone and virtual currencies.

    If you revise, consider whether you’ve left value on the table, NJ. Your sources provided you chances to discuss currency theft (impossible, you say, with rai, but easy with cash) and counterfeiting (again impossible with rai, you say). Would you say cryptocurrency can be counterfeited? stolen? Furthermore, in our digital banking age, isn’t it easier than ever to steal large sums from one another without having to break into a physical bank?

  5. davidbdale says:

    QUOTATION PUNCTUATION
    Overall, your grammar and punctuation are quite good, NJ, but you’re inconsistent with quotation marks, so I have some advice. Fortunately, the rules I have to share are the most consistent of all punctuation rules.

    RULE 1: ALWAYS USE DOUBLE QUOTES.
    EXCEPTION A: You are an Englishman publishing in England. They do it backwards.
    EXCEPTION B: You are nesting a second set of quotation marks inside another.

    RULE 2: PERIODS AND COMMAS GO INSIDE THE QUOTATION MARKS.
    EXCEPTION A: There is no exception A.

    RULE 1 applies to ALL USES of quotation marks.
    —You quote someone’s direct speech using double quotes.
    —You identify a word as ironic using double quotes (as in: That’s the “healthiest” deep-fried cheesecake on the menu!).
    —You call out a word for its literal meaning using double quotes (as in: What does the word “patriotic” mean to you?).
    —You quote just one word of someone’s speech at the end of your sentence using double quotes (as in: He call the situation at the southern border an “emergency.”).

    RULE 2 applies to ALL END OF QUOTATION SITUATIONS

    That said, your use of quotations and end punctuation is inconsistent:

    From this, they came up with the idea of ‘stone money’. Goldstein and Kestenbaum’s article “The Island of Stone Money” makes a person think about what money truly is and what even makes it ‘money.’ Because some of the wheels that were created were so large and unable to be moved, their “concrete form of money quickly made the jump to being something very abstract.”

    CORRECTIONS:
    —From this, they came up with the idea of “stone money.”
    —what money truly is and what even makes it “money.”

  6. davidbdale says:

    What happens next may seem a little harsh, NJ, but the first draft of the first post is the best place to demonstrate the rigor of “brevity and clarity” that the best college writing attains. You may not be able to achieve this terseness (You may not want to!), or understand why your Professor thinks it’s important, but I’ll try to convince you through the weeks of its value. On to the brutality! 🙂

    Located in the Pacific Ocean and in Micronesia, is the Island of Yap. They established a different type of currency than what a person is accustomed to. With no metal on the island, the natives searched for a way to create some sort of currency to aid themselves in transactions. From this, they came up with the idea of ‘stone money’. Stone money is the currency the people of the Island Yap created because they had no previous currency. They took large chunks of limestone and created wheels out of it. The larger the wheel, the more valuable it was. It is not like United states currency being that there is no monetary number that proves you are wealthier than the next person. On the Island of Yap, people are presumed as wealthy because of wheels of limestone that are judged by their size. The more wheels that are owned and the larger they are, the more wealthy that family is. Wealth is not a numerical value on this island; instead, if one decides the size of the wheel is worth the thing being sold then the wheel pays for it. Although it is not physically the same as monetary currency, it is the same idea: trade one thing for another thing

    Eliminate the extra language:

    Located in the Pacific Ocean and in Micronesia, is the Island of Yap. They established a different type of currency. With no metal on the island, the natives came up with the idea of “stone money,” creating wheels out of large chunks of limestone. The larger the wheel, the more valuable it was. Wealth is not a numerical value on this island; instead, if one decides the size of the wheel is worth the thing being sold, then the wheel pays for it. Although it is not physically the same as monetary currency, it is the same idea: trade one thing for another thing.

    Then slip in those neat concepts that inevitably got lost in a radical trimming.

    The natives of the island of Yap in Micronesia developed a surprising currency. With no metal on the island, they decided to travel 400 miles across the Pacific Ocean to an island where they could quarry large chunks of limestone, carving them into wheels to serve as their “stone money.” Unlike America, where wealth is measured only numerically (in numbers of dollars), on Yap not only the number of wheels but their size determines their value. A Yap who owns a big enough stone can spend just one for a major purchase, like a house. Although rai stones don’t work exactly like dollars, they are physical objects that represent wealth and can be traded for goods and services.

    All the original ideas are represented here, NJ, at just 60% of the original length. The brevity isn’t automatically a benefit, but when complex ideas can be expressed briefly, the words saved are available for more complex ideas. Ideally, you’ll find a way to express 5000 words worth of ideas (in your original style) in the 3000 word budget you’re permitted for your Research Position Paper.

  7. davidbdale says:

    I won’t repeat that exercise for the 2nd paragraph, NJ. I’m not a sadist. You can probably find many ways to reduce repetition and wordiness on your own. Instead, let’s examine the argument.

    Because some of the wheels that were created were so large and unable to be moved, their “concrete form of money quickly made the jump to being something very abstract.” In other words, the stone could be traded between people, but it would not move from its spot in the village.

    You quite correctly identify this characteristic shift from concrete to abstract currency as a crucial step in making the stone money “work.” It would quickly have failed as currency if the stones had to be moved. But what changed more than the stones themselves (which after all underwent no alteration at all) was the definition of ownership. The stones no longer had to be nearby to be “owned.”

    A person passing it would just know who it belonged to even though there was no physical name attached to it. It goes even further in the abstract sense that the stone did not even have to be on the island to be considered as money. Just the very idea that it belonged to someone was enough, and it did not physically have to be in one’s possession to prove it.

    On Yap, a small society of small villages where everyone was known to everyone, a small number of huge stones could be tracked without written language, recorded transactions, receipts. Oral tradition was sufficient to keep accounts straight. Larger societies could never have made the system work.

    This is quite exactly the same as electronic money because even when paying a bill or purchasing something, no physical money is removed from your possession because it is just a number on the screen.

    Again, you’re quite right that nothing physical changes hands in electronic transactions, but what in digital banking substitutes for that common knowledge of everyone else’s business? There are no stones to walk past in my front yard that everyone knows belong to you. In fact, I may be fabulously wealthy without any but the smallest number of humans even knowing about it. Similar to Yap, but not “quite exactly the same.”

    You’re doing fine, NJ. I’m just doing my best to keep you focused on the not-always-obvious complexities of your subject.

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