Currency, Stocks and Star Trek

August 9, 2011

I don’t invest in stocks anymore – unless you count my SEP and IRA money. And unless you count my pure consumerism…the regular purchases I make at hundreds of publicly traded companies on a regular basis. And I don’t pay attention to precious metals much, unless you’re talking about the coins in my pocket or the silver I bought on a whim about two years ago when a friend of mine was all hot and bothered about buying gold.

The deal there was if you purchased a gold coin, you qualified to buy three silver coins at a ‘special’ price. I bought most of the silver coins while he filled his safe with gold. Right now with the recent stock-market plunges, neither of us is feeling so great. Though I would have had money for an iPad, a nice meal and a scooter tune-up had I sold the silver coins last Wednesday. They were going for $50+ each and I paid about $11 each for them.

Now, I’ll just sit here and lament my lack of an iPad. But that’s all digression. I wanted to chat for a second about currency and how we still use it to pay for stuff. Instead of having a fully open society (would that be socialist or communist), we still trade little pieces of metal and paper for goods and services.

Be they Euros or dollars or Yen – or any number of other currencies, we’re still caught up in putting a value on symbols instead of trading a chicken for a sack of potatoes (or whatever a chicken is worth). My contention, with the stock market and economy mess of the past weekend is that who can really tell what things are worth?

Is my dollar really worth half a Euro? Is my loaf of bread worth a half-cup of sugar? Is my scooter worth a brand new Macbook Air?

For that information we either turn to experts in the field or see what the market will bear. Right now I have a greater need for a Macbook Air than I do for my scooter, but I still see a lot of value in the vehicle. But when I think about the silver sitting in my safe deposit box, that might have bounced up and down in value one too many times and could be cashed in to get me some new tech.

What’s your take on currency and if we should be using it as a vehicle with which to buy and sell goods? And do you have a favorite currency? Is it a British Pound, your knowledge and skill as a writer or the access you have to an audience. If people are willing to pay you for your currency, whether they give you potatoes or time in the Holodeck, isn’t it all somehow equal in the end?