The numbers are real… only because we believe in them.
Antique dealers and E-Bay auctioneers are quite familiar with the fact that the value of an item is simply based on what a person is willing to pay for it. It had to have been confusing when the Native American Indians learned of the Europeans’ obsession with gold, which to them was just another type of metal. There was nothing special about it. But because gold still has value in our economy, we can relate to our European ancestors. Not only have we been trained to associate gold with prosperity, but gold literally does equal monetary wealth.
If only ancient civilization decided that dinosaur fossils should have been the currency, we would put our faith in a completely different rare, inanimate object. It is truly eye-opening, amazing, and disappointing to realize that money itself is simply just a touchable version of the invisible system set in place. Money isn’t real. Our government can print millions more in a just a few minutes, when they choose to. Our faith in the system is what gives money its worth.
A dollar is worth a dollar because we believe it. Same thing with a million. And while each decade inflation alters the value to a degree, we keep enough faith for the system to stay legitimate.
What made this “invisible money” concept even more real for me is when I got a debit card a few years ago. No longer having to go to the bank every Friday during my lunch break to withdraw cash, I could just simply swipe my card to make a purchase, then later check online to see the numbers get a little smaller. The Numbers.
Money is invisible numbers. But while money isn’t real, these numbers still completely affect our lifestyles. So they are real.
Faith makes an invisible economy real.