You find yourself in the all too familiar situation of driving down the road. Your foot has been nestled up against the gas pedal off and on for the last hour and its become a real drag. Taking note of the gas prices as you pass begins to set in as you sink into your seat at the fifth red traffic light in two blocks. There’s two fill stations at this corner, how convenient. Two eighty nine on one side and three o’ one on the other. Now wait a second.. surely they’re not giving you a discount for the absurdly difficult left turn into their lot from this stretch of the asphalt you’ve found yourself on.
Money is a weird thing isn’t it? We work for it, we save it, and we move it around about in different ways and somehow we can never find ourselves with just the right amount of it. John D. Rockefeller shined the light on the voice in our heads that never stops saying “Just a little bit more” when asked how much money is enough? Quite a lot goes into such a strange little piece of paper. To obtain it we venture forth in an effort to create some type of value to the world and in turn we are given a one hundred dollar bill or maybe even a five. Abe Lincoln stares approvingly.. or does he?
Anyway whether it be a five dollar bill or a one hundred dollar bill, it’s value is not set in stone. It’s actually quite malleable as it always has been with fiat currency. In the United States we are no longer on the gold standard by which our dollar bills were once upon a time tied to. So back in the day, before August 15, 1971 when the gold standard ended, you knew that the beautiful man looking back at you situated on that bill you just got from a hard days work represented a specific amount of gold held by our government. Instead of holding all that gold, paper money made it a heck of a lot easier.
Its not so simple anymore. While our paper is not longer on the gold standard our government stands behind each and every dollar declaring that it has value. Since our US dollars are not tethered to actual representations of gold the government has the ability to print them at their whim. Sounds great right? Not entirely. Now if we put our money in the bank and let it sit because of this printing the value of our five dollar bill or our one hundred dollar bill is going to drop. This is why everything gets more expensive as time goes on. Inflation.
So bear with me here this is where it gets interesting. How much do you think a dozen eggs is worth? Well typically we can find a dozen for around two dollars and some change. If you were to buy those eggs would you say that they’re quite valuable? Maybe if your stomach is full that’s not worth very much but what about if you hadn’t eaten a bite for an entire week. Not many of us with the ability to access this page even have the mind to imagine how that would begin to feel because we’ve not experienced such a hunger. The value of those eggs just went up dramatically. Inflation? No. Reality.
We all understand that one hundred dollars fifty years ago could get you a heck of a lot more than one hundred dollars today. That’s inflation and it definitely doesn’t seem to be getting much better with our government spinning the money printers at full speed. In 2020 the US printed more money than what even existed in 2009. Interesting. Dollar signs don’t physically exist in every nook and cranny of the universe. You’re not going to look through a telescope and see a dollar sign floating in outer space, let alone pulling back a rock from the side of a ravine. Well you might actually find a quarter there if you’re extremely lucky but only because we’ve practically littered the planet with it!
The dollar signs can quite literally absorb us, overlaying just about anything we lay our eyes on. That tea kettle? Ah its gotten an internal thermostat so it creates just the perfect temperature and hmm it seems it can be fine tuned to boot! Twenty five dollars. So what was just the tea kettle that procured a fine tea for you with the help of a few leaves and a tea pot is now reduced to just a symbol? Twenty five dollars. Yes sir sign me up for another twenty five dollars I’ve got one in the kitchen and its been whipping up such a wonderful lot of teas for the last thirty years I’m due for another!
We’re sorry sir but that tea kettle is now fifty dollars, thirty years ago you could have gotten it for twenty five. All jokes aside the tea kettle can do but one thing and that is to make tea. A legendary swiss army knife can do quite a lot. When we look to buy a nice one we glance at the price which could be prohibitive but what we are really interested in is “what does it do“. Well this one has a screwdriver, a knife, a pair of pliers, tweezers, and it shines just right to bear your reflection when you gaze into it. Will it do that in fifty years? It sure will. The exact same thing so long as it is maintained.
Maybe it would be useful to us to begin looking at things as one would a swiss army knife. What does it do? What value does that thing carry to us? Not monetarily but actually. What array of screwdrivers jut from its sides or how exactly does it feel as it sits in your pocket? We can bring this mentality to just about anything. The lot of chickens you buy today will only inflate in six years time when well fed. Their value as time goes on? Its a chicken.
It’s easy to forget sometimes that not everything is as simple as it seems! Take care friends.