Thursday, September 26, 2013

Where can I keep my valuables?

Ever since the recent troubles involving a recession and Wall Street and derivatives, I have heard about banks.  So, I asked an economist friend of mine about them.  What is a bank?  What is the Federal Reserve Board?  What is a gold standard?  Why did my friend start laughing when I mentioned some people being interested in 'returning to a gold standard', whatever that means?

As I think about, read about and research a little about these matters, I begin to see strong feelings, fiercely held opinions and strong language.  In fact, there seems to be about the same amount of fervor as one finds in politics.  So, what is at the bottom of the matter?  As always, it seems that fear and limits are involved.

What fear and what limits?  I am not a traditional Christian but I often find that the Old Testament or the New Testament include something relevant to an issue.  Not guidance in many cases, mostly because our lives today are different in many ways but indications that at bottom, we are still the same sorts of beings as people were 2000 years ago.  "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal" Matthew 6:18-20.

You see from the wording that Jesus and those of his time fully understood the difficulties of keeping one's valuables after acquiring them.  Modern savers have more factors to base fears on.  What about inflation and price changes?  I have been saving up for a new snowmobile and I am nearly there.  Oh, no!  The price just jumped up!  What was almost a new snowmobile is now less so.  Now, I am a couple of months away.  Rats!

What about acceptability?  If I offer to buy your gizmo for $100, will you accept a one hundred dollar bill for it?  Probably.  If you are in the US and plan to use the piece of paper in the US.  However, if you are in a foreign country, it may be far more trouble for you to make any use of the greenback and you might require I give you currency of your country.  I can buy such currency but I will incur a cost from a moneylender for the exchange and I will lose a little of my 100 dollars just to get your currency.  How can I keep my valuables and not lose any to mechanics and bookkeeping and fees and other nibbles that I consider irrelevant?  Answer: I can't.

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