1 'But Like, Money Doesn't Exist' | The Billfold

‘But Like, Money Doesn’t Exist’

Last night a person used Tumblr’s “ask” feature to ask professional funny person Christine Friar if she trusts banks. Her answer is awesome. A TASTE: “My dad is a financebro and tries to assure me that trusting banks is smart/prudent/patriotic, but like, money doesn’t exist. It’s a concept that we all just agree has value. And I get really caught up in entry-level, humanity 101 stuff when it comes to currency. I am every stoned guy you wish would just get off of your couch and go home your first semester freshman year of college.”


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It’s interesting what we mean when we say “do you trust banks?” Traditionally this means “do you trust that your money is safe in the bank?” which I think most people still do. But since 2008 it also means “do you trust banks not to destroy the economy again?”

deepomega (#22)

@stuffisthings Right – the most amazing part of 2008 is that there wasn’t a run on banks (driving us into a full depression). We managed to fix THAT problem at least.

oiseau (#1,830)

Sometimes all I want to be able to do is type an extra 0 at the end of my bank balance. It’s just a little string of tiny black numbers on a glowing screen! So much depends on what your little numbers add up to! I often feel that the concept of money is just a big old scam.

I think it’s like, cool or something right now to be a 20 something who says that money is imaginary. I feel like a I see this opinion all the time but its really not that mind-blowing. It’s highschool economics and it’s not even as imaginary or arbitrary as say, a util. Money is a means of exchanging purchasing power. We could barter directly for everything, but that would get pretty old not to mention inconvenient for me if my grocer does not need my services as a librarian. Currency is a placeholder to make these transactions easier. Banks exist to protect the purchasing power I have earned and if I am not using some of my power, they can loan it to someone else at a fee. And sure they have the potential to really screw everyone involved, but we do have choices in who we trust to protect our purchasing power. Obviously it gets more complicated than that, but its not like contemplating the edge of the universe or anything.

deepomega (#22)

@Punk-assBookJockey One might as well say “digital photographs don’t exist” – well, yeah, sorta? But that’s a silly way to think about it?

messica (#2,810)

@deepomega I mean sure, the various currency notes and gold bars do not grow on actual trees to be farmed but when a concept is around for this long and is so adhered to, I think it’s safe to say it exists right? Even if we stop using it we will continue to refer to it as something that existed. The legislative branch of the government is a similar ideological entity but even if we dissolved it we wouldn’t be like, “All that, was it ever real????”

oiseau (#1,830)

@Punk-assBookJockey Of course I don’t think money is imaginary or useless, nor do I want to go back to the gold standard or bartering, but sometimes I really wish there was a convenient cheat code like in The Sims, where you could type in “rosebud” or “motherlode”, then kaching, kaching, an extra couple thousand $$ in your account.

Additionally, I know that supply & demand largely determine the monetary value of certain skills (eg. manual labor = $7.50/hour; obscure programming language = $bajillions) but I feel weird about it. It seems sort of unfair even though it’s not arbitrary.

@oiseau Totally! I agree with you. Especially with everything online, it does seem like we are just one step further removed from what makes currency “real” – even the placeholder is no longer tangible.
But I was not responding to your comment above at all. I basically just meant that I didn’t think that the authors reponse to the question was all that awesome. I know a number of “hipster libertarian” types who are saying this kind of thing all the time as an excuse to not be responsible with their money. But the author does seem a little more self-aware than that, she at least admits that it’s freshman level thinking.

TARDIStime (#1,633)

Money is just a unit of measurement for how well-resourced you are.
Money exists like an inch, a milimetre or a size 8.
Because as humans we all need a frame of reference and units of measurement.
ETA: I like the linked answer because it’s v. self-aware, if nothing else.

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