Thursday, May 30, 2013

All the Money in the World

"If you had all the money in the world, it would be worthless." At the risk of ruining the appearance of sagacity, I will 'splain my thinking.

If "money" is defined as "gold" or "cattle" or something else which has use value as well as value as a medium of exchange, then the statement in my "status" would not be true. If you had all the gold or cattle in the world, it would be worth something. But money, qua money, has value only in its role as facilitating exchange in a functioning economy. If it became TOO concentrated, it could no longer fill this role. Most people having no money, they would have to acquire goods and services they didn't produce themselves in some other way (e.g., barter or rapine), or they would have to introduce some other medium of exchange in lieu of "money" (e.g., cigarettes in prison or post-war Europe), which of course would then technically be money, in which case the people who had concentrated the official "money" in their hands would no longer have "all the money in the world".

In any case, my thought experiment ran that IF you had "all the money in the world" its extreme scarcity would make it useless as medium of exchange, and it would no longer be "money". Of course, social disruption and change (of the political system, or economic system, or both) would happen long before that that time. The relevant questions, to our own radically unequal national and (even more) world societies are: "What kind of change?" and "When?"