What Makes Money Valuable?
David Starkey

The tedium of barter mostly,
having to trade cows for pigs,
tobacco for skins and cowrie shells.
Better to boil it down to precious metals,
or colored paper, better still.

Suppose you want a bicycle, which
costs twenty-five dollars. You’re willing
to mow the lawn for fifty cents.
Now you know what is meant
by the phrase “yardstick of value.”

Tomatoes and eggs are perishable;
therefore you must pay the store owner
in cash. The Latin moneo means “to warn,”
as in, “Beware of objects not meeting
acknowledged standards of purity and weight.”

 

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