Is money real?

gold bullion

I wrote Hope Island in 2019 – already one of the three predicted events has almost happened. I began to question, not for the first time, the value of money.

In the world today we don’t have real money, we operate almost entirely on promises. You may imagine that the statement you get from a bank guarantees your cash – it doesn’t. There isn’t a pile of cash or gold anywhere that is large enough to supply those promises.

If you gathered all the hard currency in the world, notes and coins, it wouldn’t be enough to pay off the US national debt and your bank statement would mean nothing. In other words, when faith in those bank statements dissipates, the whole imaginary money system would collapse.

Gold itself doesn’t have any great practical uses, it’s main use is jewellery, but it is rare. All the gold in the world would fit in three Olympic swimming pools. That is a lot of gold, but not nearly enough. The value today of all that gold is about 7 trillion US dollars, but the US national debt alone is over 20 trillion dollars.

In financial terms we have built castles made of promises. They will crumble one day.

Gold bullion coins

In the world Hope Island inhabits the only valuable coins are gold. The island has a small, self-sustained population and operates as a collective. Some technology has been retained, like wind generated electricity and plumbing. Much has been lost or is in short supply. Some luxuries can be bought from the mainland which is gradually regenerating 19th and 20th century technology. Conflict is never far from any society and in a novel, as in an oyster, it’s the grit that generates the pearl.

gold bullion coins

The only valuable coin is gold bullion – buy yours now is my advice.

Published by Bruce Aiken

A maths and physics student who ran away to art college and has worked as a freelance creative ever since.

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