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How Many Rutabagas for that House? About Currency – Religion and Politics

Rutabagas! Life blood of planet Earth! Okay, you’re permitted to disagree. Nonetheless, rutabagas are a “marketable commodity.” They can be bought, they can be sold, they can be traded.

Imagine for just a second, that you’re a rutabaga farmer. You’re moderately successful in your “work.” Put another way, you get rutabagas to grow, to flourish and to produce.

You have friends, one of them is a carrot farmer, she too, is “good at what she does.” She, in fact, produces far more carrots than anybody might ever want. The result is, she barters a good number of her carrots. Carrots are a more popular commodity than rutabagas, but typically, one carrot is a good deal smaller than one rutabaga. Details aside though, you have worked out between you, a system by which you can avail yourself of her carrots, so long as she wants your rutabagas.

This is the very first problem with bartering! People have to want what you intend to trade.

As stated, because rutabagas are not nearly as popular as something like carrots, the chances are, you will find fewer people who will want your rutabagas, than your friend will find that want carrots.

So what are the “options?” You can be assured I will not get to all possible options, but I should be able to discuss the most common and popularly used ones.

To begin with, you can find something your carrot-growing friend wants, for which the owner will take your rutabagas in trade. For as long as your somewhat more complicated relationship lasts, this will get you your carrots. The problem is, such relationships are by nature transient; that is, they tend not to stand the test of time. For now at least though, you have assured your supply of carrots.

But let’s say you realize you have more time than work in your growing, caring for and reaping rutabagas. Your source for carrots, though, has a huge expanse on which she grows her produce, and could use help. How fortuitous. Now your carrot supply is virtually assured—and let’s face it, you love carrots, so that’s a good thing.

You begin to wonder though, whether you’re getting a “fair deal.” You do a lot of work for your carrot supplier, and really don’t get so many carrots in exchange for that work. You talk it over with your “boss,” and  decide one of a few things should probably happen.

  1. You should reduce your time worked to a more reasonable number of hours.
  2. Your carrot-producing friend should use some of the “profit” from her carrot bartering business to help you to obtain certain other things you desire to have.
  3. You agree between yourselves, that you friend will give you what amount to I.O.U.s that you can use to barter with other folks, so they can use them to get carrots.

This brings up an important additional point. You have a supplier for carrots, but I seriously doubt you intend to live a life in which your sole sustenance is rutabagas and carrots. On top of this, unless you also grow the materials, do the processing of them, then do the sewing, you have clothes to consider.

The point is, what has been presented to this points is extremely simplistic. You either build your own house, or someone else does that. The same applies if you want personal (and personally owned) transportation. In fact, it’s entirely amazing just how many things one gets from sources outside oneself as a rule in the modern day.

The preceding point leads quite nicely into the next. It’s obvious to just about everybody that a rutabaga is not a carrot. It’s even more obvious that a rutabaga is not a house. What it can be argued is “forgotten along the way” by some folks, is that a rutabaga hasn’t anything like the value of many things folks require or desire to live—the obvious example being a house.

Simply put, if a person wants to buy a house, he can attempt to trade rutabagas for it, but doing so will require the growth and trading of a huge number of rutabagas—for even a simple or small dwelling.

Further, it will require keeping track—potentially for a very long time—of how many rutabagas have been supplied, and how many are yet owed.

Yet again though, we are in the “land of oversimplification” where this example is concerned, for we assume that the builder or “seller” of the house is willing to take rutabagas in trade—particularly in amounts that would be considered sufficient to “pay for” the house.

At the very least, such a situation implies the strong desirability to pay for things with less concrete—though in some senses, equally tangible assets.

I suppose it’s likely that any number of schemes could be employed to make it more easily possible to “pay” others. In point of fact, I believe the model to be shifting drastically (as it has been doing for some time, in my view) at this very time in history. It is more than a little questionable the old expression, “Cash is king” can be agreed to across the board in the modern day—at least, in the physical form of paper and coin.

Even so though, the concept of “currency” or “money”, which can be defined as, “A somewhat arbitrary tool, or set thereof, used to indicate value, that can be traded for desired goods and services.” Seems to be a good and well-liked one. Granted, this is far from an all-encompassing, unchallengeable definition, but unless and until I find one I like better to describe and define the purpose of money or currency, I’ll stick with this one.

There is little doubt—particularly for a student who has even remotely looked at history—that this method has been employed by societies for a very long time. They have been used by rich and poor alike. They have been used in transactions between only the less well off as much as with any group. And frankly, those who would rather they were not in use, tend to be the wealthy, or badly informed.

I’m not arguing against exploring other methods to “transact business;” rather, I’m saying this method works and has been preferred by a great number of people for a very long time.

Final thoughts? If you have a better suggestion for how to “do business,” by all means, present it. Just remember, unless you’re willing to force folks to do something in which they have little or no interest, don’t count on its adoption. Further, don’t assume that you’re either the first, or the loudest proponent of your “new method.”

Okay, out of time and space. As such, allow me to wish you the best of times and as usual, thank you for reading.

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