torsdag 7. juni 2018

The Zen of Terry Pratchett on Gold and Paper

Rincewind selected a cake. He didn’t like to ask about the other stuff.
- You’ve got gold, he said.
- Oh, gold. It is too soft to do much with, said Dibhala.  – It’s all right for pipes and putting on roof s, though.
-Oh . . .  I daresay people in Ankh-Morpork could find a use for some, said Rincewind. His gaze returned to the coins in Dibhala's tray.
A land where gold was as cheap as lead . . .
- What’s that? he said, pointing to a crumpled rectangle half covered with coins.
D.M.H. Dibhala looked down. – It’s this thing we have here, he said, speaking slowly. – Of course, it’s probably all new to you. It’s called mon-ey. It’s a way of carrying around your –
- I meant the bit of paper, said Rincewind.
- So did I, said Dibhala. – That’s a ten-rhinu note.
- What does that mean? said Rincewind.
- Means what it says, said Dibhala. – Means it’s worth ten of these. He held up a gold coin about the size of a rice cake.
- Why’d you want to buy a piece of paper? said Rincewind.
- You don’t buy it, it’s for buying things with, said Dibhala.
Rincewind looked blank.
- You go to a mark-et stall, said Dibhala, getting back into the slow-voice-for-the hard-of –thinking. - And you say: - Good morn-ing, but-cher, how much for those dog noses? And he says: - Three rhinu, shogun. And you say: - I’ve only got a pony, OK? (look, there’s an etch-ing of a pony on it, see, that’s what you get on ten-rhinu notes) and he gives you the dog noses and seven coins in what we call “change”. Now, if you had a monkey, that’s fifty rhinu, he’d say: - Got anything small-ler? And –
- But it’s only a bit of paper! Rincewind wailed.
- It may be a bit of paper to you but it’s ten rice cakes to me, said Dibhala. – What do you foreign bloodsuckers use?  Big stones with holes in them?
Rincewind stared at the paper money.

Ask yourself: Why is gold valuable? Why is paper money valuable? Gold is nothing but a basically useless metal and paper money is…. well paper with some ink on it. Both gold and paper money are valuable as long as you and enough other people believe that the yellow metal and the paper bills are valuable. Paper money live and die, but gold is still valuable no matter what happens.

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