Sapiens 9.0分
读书笔记 第197页
豆丁仔

On money

Money was created many times in many places. Its development required no technological breakthroughs - it was a purely mental revolution. It involved the creation of a new inter-subjective reality that exists solely in people's shared imagination.
Money is not coins and banknotes. Money is anything that people are willing to use in order to represent systematically the value of other things for the purpose of exchanging goods and services...
Money is thus a universa medium of exchange that enables people to convert almost everything into almost anything else...
Because money can convert, store and transport wealth easily and cheaply, it made a vital contribution to the appearance of complex commercial networks and dynamic markets. Without money, commercial networks and markets would have been doomed to remain very limited in their size, complexity and dynamism...
People are willing to do such things when they trust the figments of their collective imagination. Trust is the raw material from which all types of money are minted... Money is accordingly a system of mutual trust, and not just any system of mutual trust: money is the most universal and most efficient system of mutual trust ever devised...
The crucial role of trust explains why our financial systems are so tightly bound up with our political, social and ideological systems, why financial crises are often triggered by political developments, and why the stock market can rise or fall depending on the way traders feel on a particular morning...
The real breakthrough in monetary history occurred when people gained trust in money that lacked inherent value, but was easier to store and transport...
[Luxury goods'] value is purely cultural.
[The first coins ever devised were imprinted with an identification mark.] The mark testified to two things. First, it indicated how much preicous metal the coin contained. Second, it identified the authority that issued the coin and that guaranteed its contents...
Counterfeiting is not just cheating - it's a breach of sovereignty, and act of subversion against the power, privileges and person of the king...
For thousands of years, philosophers, thinkers and prophets have besmirched money and called it the root of all evil. Be that as it may, money is also the apogee of human tolerance. Money is more open-minded than language, state laws, cultural codes, religious beliefs and social habits. Money is the only trust system created by humans that can bridge almost any cultural gap, and that does not discriminate on the basis of religion, gender, race, age or secual orientation. Thanks to money, even people who don't know each other and don't trust each other can nevertheless coopoerate effectively...

But...

When everything is convertible, and when trust depends on anonymous coins and cowry shells, it errodes local traditions, intimate relatinos and human values, replacing them with the cold laws of supply and demand...
Although money builds universal trust between strangers, this trust is invested not in humans, communities or sacred strangers, but in money itself and in the impersonal systems that back it. We do not trust the stranger, or the next-door neightbour - we trust the coin they hold. If they run out of coins, we run out of trust.
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