Monday, December 3, 2012

Why We Have Money

I'm no economist or even a math person.  (Adding in my head is a chore.)  But I am a consumer, an employee, and a tax payer.  I am actively participating in this country's (and the world's) economy.

And the longer I earn money, the longer I am convinced of its true purpose: to be given away.

The only reason we have money is for the purpose of attaching a value to something.  One hour of work is worth $8.50 to an employer of a fast food chain, but maybe $50 for a doctor's work.  Money tells us how much a store is willing to sell a loaf of bread to us for.

Money also reveals value when we give it.  When you give $1, it means less than giving $10,000.  Also, if you earn $8.50 an hour, giving $100 means a lot more to you than someone making $50 an hour.

We all know about inflation, the liquid-like way money's value changes.  It's all relative, thus the reason why money functions as system of value.

But no matter who you are, whether you are a starving orphan in Africa or the CEO of one of America's top companies, there will always be someone who has less than you.  Yes, we use money to survive.  To consume those things we need, such as shelter, food, clothing.

But money doesn't really show its brilliant golden smile until it is given away, until the reason why it dictates value in the first place comes into play.  When you give it away, use it to buy someone else dinner or to purchase someone a gift, money's true purpose is revealed: to bring value to your gift.

This may not be entirely "accurate" in an economist's eyes, but money functions in a myriad of ways in our society, and I would have to argue all of those functions exist in order to demonstrate the value of giving it away.