Saturday, May 7, 2011

Using Seashells For Money, How Silly

I can distinctly remember the teacher in my grammar school telling us that Long Island was sold to the settlers for seashells called wampum. I can also remember our response, which was laughter, including my own. That the clothes we were wearing, the homes we lived in, indeed the services of the very teacher who told us these things, were purchased with pieces of paper had totally escaped me.

Its funny how the passage of time provides those who come later with a different perspective on historical events than was held by those who lived through them. Yet the different perspective provided by that same passage of time is not objective, for the view of historical events through the lens of a different age comes with its on cultural prejudices and blind spots.

But scripture gives us a reference point that transcends the ages. By God's grace, and a true understanding of reality and scripture, perhaps we can seek to break free from the prejudices and blind spots common with our age and prevent travesties not yet etched into stone by their slipping from present to past. But such an undertaking must, to be authentic, not reek of conformity to the times, for such conformity was a mark of those travesties past.

If you like this article, you might also find "Living In The Here And Now" and "The Tyranny Of The Times" interesting.

7 comments:

Steve Scott said...

Dan,

It's obvious. They used seashells, while you used real money. :-)

Craig and Heather said...

It's interesting to note what things human beings will consider valuable, isn't it?

Personally, I think it's particularly difficult for relatively comfortable, westernized Christians to be able to see through the smog of our environment in order to be able to see clearly what is of eternal value and determine how we can best serve Christ while awaiting His return.

It seems as though some aspects of our current culture will prove to be totally worthless while others are meant to be redeemed for God's Glory. Learning to discern the wheat from the chaff can sometimes be frustrating, though.
Thankfully,the Lord has promised wisdom to those who humbly ask and will wait on Him for direction.

Heather.

Dan said...

Steve

...and becoming less real with ever revolution of the press. :)

Heather


"I think it's particularly difficult for relatively comfortable, westernized Christians to be able to see through the smog of our environment in order to be able to see clearly what is of eternal value and determine how we can best serve Christ while awaiting His return."

I can't agree more. I know this is a constant struggle that goes on within myself. That said, having an inkling that we are in this smog is a giant first step.

Z said...

I read your first paragraph and couldn't help but be reminded of the gold standard conversation at Geeez the other day :-)

Dan said...

Z

The thought of gold came to my mind as well Z. Gold is better than wampum because it does have some industrial uses. Still, like wampum at that time, gold has value because of its beauty and rarity. Of coarse, rarity is key because politicians, eager to purchase votes, can't easily turn on a machine and mass produce it. Our current paper is now backed only by the honor of those same politicians to not do just that.

That makes me wonder, will history one day accuse this generation of exploiting some then victim-class group by offering them pieces of paper for their services and resources?

Steve Scott said...

Dan,

Gold also has a value in the market based on labor. If there's a demand for money, the price of gold will rise to the point of making it worth the labor of mining it, until the supply meets the demand.

And it's not about the paper anymore. As we observed in the hype over a possible Y2K run, there isn't even enough paper to cover the number of dollars in use. They now create electronic decimal points out of thin air.

Dan said...

Steve

This is but one of the precarious things about gold, as the price goes up so does the desire to find and mine it. There's an upside and downside to every currency I would suppose. And yes, the idea of an actual printing press is probably a little passe.