reply to post by NoHierarchy
Since seemingly have missed my question, here it is again with a bit more substance.
What are you using to define 'wealthy' and ‘rich’? Do you have a measure based on anything other than just saying ‘wealthy’ or ‘rich’?
Are you basing wealth in a relative manner based on where it is found and the environment in which it is viewed?
“…but as a human monetary/trade concept, gold and silver are completely MADE UP in value, they only serve a system of trade rather than something
directly useful/valuable (like barter for instance).”
This is true to an extent. Taking insight into Adam Smith and is study in regards to the division of labor we can see this. The baker, who makes ale
and bread used to trade or barter for the nails he needed to perform general maintenance around his bakery. Where the metalsmith, with an abundance
of nails wanted food, thus the opposite occurred for him.
In the most basic form, it is a pure market that works fantastically and near flawless, but as societies grew and became more complex, a form of
currency other than the fruits of labor was devised. The baker maybe didn’t need nails anymore, but rather clothing. But the local tailor didn’t
have any use for bread or ale as they produced their own in the amounts that they needed. The market adjusted for such situations in developing
coinage in the values of certain metals.
It is also notable that when the metalsmith wishes to only obtain say a single cut of meat, but the butcher wishes for more nails than what is worth a
single cut is where the market derived a system to accommodate such.
The distinction between the real and the nominal price of commodities and labour is not a matter of mere speculation…The same real price is
always of the same value; but on account of the variations in the value of gold and silver, the same nominal price is sometimes of very different
– An Inquiry into the Nature and Cause of the Wealth of Nations
It is in such that metals that we use as currency do not always hold the same value, as they are the means in which we buy our goods and services in
which we apply a real value to. The nominal price of such are subjected to the forces of the market; the coinage or metals are subject to the forces
of the market in the same manner.
What was once worth a pound of gold may now only be worth a quarter pound. But ask yourself, has the value of the item that used to be worth a pound
of gold any less valuable to you if you purchased at a quarter pound?
Couple that notion, along with the fact that gold, silver, platinum, copper, etc are also effected by the forces of the natural market and economic
forces such as scarcity, it is logical that such fluctuations occur may it be market forces or ‘artificial’ as you have penned.
While there is always the risk that market forces can come from artificial sources, it usually is corrected quite quickly through the very market that
one is trying to artificially effect. Take for instance my example above in regards to metals. Sometimes metals are disguised to look like more
desirable metals. Thus we have an artificial fluctuation within the market. The correction would occur either through a drop in the value of the
metal that is tainted, an increase in the purer metals that are not tainted and the utility value of such metals dropping due to the distrust and
ambiguity in regards to the said tainted metal.
“You must ponder though- is there ANY monetary system that ISN'T based on man-made words/illusions?”
This is quite the philosophical question to ponder. This highly depends on ones views upon mankind, the creation of labor, societies, ethics, and the
State. It also serves that we must differentiate between utility and value. As utility is applied to what that item does for the person whereas the
value is attributed to what the item is worth in exchange for some other good. The two concepts are interconnected when one enters the market place,
yet are not dependant upon one another.
Also, finding distinction between manmade and market-made are needed here.
A monetary system created by man, usually is based upon the utility of such currency. The baker, in the above examples sees his product as a currency
to obtain the goods he lacks. Thus the utility value is lower than the value as the baker does not see a need to retain his product, but sees it
valuable to others.
Whereas a metalsmith that makes only enough for himself would see his product as high in utility and in value. It will require more of another good,
nearly ‘artificial’ in terms of the market for him to relinquish his goods in exchange for another because of the utility he has placed into the
In regards to a monetary system I offer the following. We can have a currency created out of thin air by say, a monarch. That monarch declares that
a bushel of wheat is worth a cow. Thus, the monetary system was created by Man. It was given a real value that was determined by either a single
source or even Government. Most likely, the monarch or Government dictated such as a currency because of the abundance of which they hold. Thus
creating wealth based on others’ scarcity of such economic commodity. Since the monarch or Government retains a large quantity of wheat, the
utility of such a commodity is low, but knows the value is high. Thus an artificial monetary system is created to the benefit of a singular person
A market induced system is one that depends not on what one man dictates to the market the value of a currency, but rather the market itself. The
creation of a more common system that could be applied more widely, without the fluctuation in value in terms of applying to the market, while the
utility of such is kept separate from the market are desirable. The need to have a system that allows all to engage within the market place knowing
that their product or good is worth a certain amount that is based upon the market as a whole, rather than the dictates of a singular person’s
utility. The value of such a system is applied generally equal to the players within the market. Thus, the currency holds a value dictated by the
market and not by the dictates of its utility.
This is where wealth is generated. Persons holding a high utility value to a currency will invariably seek to obtain more. Persons that find little
utility beyond the means of which they wish to use such wealth to get by seek only that which will satisfy.
I have rambled and probably made mistakes that my proofreading didn’t catch.
I still stand by my initial question though: DEFINE wealthy and/or rich.