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Origin of Money

Updated: Jul 19, 2021

Gatewood Wealth Solutions Origin of Money Blog

New cases continue to capture the headlines. So far, there has been a high of 66,300 cases with one report mentioning a 66% jump in testing. Growth is slowing down and the national trend in hospitalizations appears to be falling as well. We are continuing to monitor our timeline and give updates on the status of industrial activity. When looking at the lag, we do not see the growth rate in deaths to be as pronounced as new cases. But there has been a slight uptick.

Total output at factories, mines and utilities increased 5.4% from June. It was the biggest gain since 1946. Meanwhile, housing came in at a 1.19 million seasonally adjusted annual rate in June, the Commerce Department reports. The latest numbers show the 13-week M2NSA[1] increase in annualized growth falling from 62.6% to 62.0%. Therefore, there is a spectacular amount of new money in the system. This new money alone continues to fuel the stock market for at least 6 months, but the expansive monetary policy may not be over. The Trump administration is preparing another bailout phase.

Sources familiar with McConnell's forthcoming measure tell us the proposal will include: 

  • A heavy emphasis on education.

  • Widespread liability protection, including for restaurants, hotels, hospitals, universities and school districts.

  • Increased funding for COVID-19 testing. 

  • Extension of the Paycheck Protection Program.

Paradox of Value

Value was once derived from labor input. This was put forward by Adam Smith and was also held by Marx; however, it was incorrect. This becomes obvious when we consider a diamond and water and simply change the location to a desert. All of a sudden, the use value reasserts itself.

How do we solve this puzzle? It was solved by three people simultaneously: William Stanley Jevons, Leon Walras and Carl Menger. We are going to focus on Carl Menger. He championed a causal-realist approach and determined value is subjective. This is counter to Aristotle’s claim that values were outside of humankind and trade was equal. This subjective value theory gave him insight on the Origins of Money.

Ultimately, value is based on the goals and where the scarce resource will derive value relative to their ability to help alleviate the suffering and bring the goal closer to completion. Imagine if you had seven units of water. All of a sudden, the diamond drops in value. Why?

“It takes three days to get out of the desert. Each new unit of water would be assigned an ordinal ranking. If one unit of water is one day of survivability, you would set aside the first (3) and consider them most valuable. Notice, you are not ranking the water as a whole, but each individual unit of water.”

It is instructive to note, as the supply increases, the price or use value drops. As the demand increases, the higher the tradeoff value.

Technology, Entrepreneurship, Further Innovation, Higher Durability, & Higher Salability

A fisherman sees more fish in the deep waters than near shore. With envisions of a log floating nearby and a boat, he is able to catch more fish. However, to build the boat he would first need to set aside enough fish to sustain him while he constructs the boat. Showing investment for future consumption needs savings to take place first.

Then, a fisherman decides to trade the fish for boats and now all are able to get more fish with less work. Taking a risk, one of the fishermen then throws seed from wheat in the fields in the water and discovers the recipe of bread. Everyone is eating fish and bread. Wheat stores well (more durable), is easy divisible (grains of wheat), and has value (certainly more than fish).

But it is just a matter of time before someone finds a new commodity that has better characteristics. This “commodity as money” continues on until gold and silver become the most favored medium of exchange. Next week, we will review gold currency to central banking as well as the idea of crypto currency.

Follow GWS on YouTube

For the full video recap of the webinar on which this blog post is based, follow GWS on YouTube. (If a recent episode isn’t posted there yet, it’s still in compliance review). And be sure to tune in to our weekly Gatewood Wealth Solutions Market Webinar to hear updates on the current state of the market and economy. As always, we welcome you to share our broadcast links on social media or with your friends and family. They are more than welcome to listen in and learn our perspective on the market and the economy.

If you have any questions, please contact your Lead Advisor or any other member of our team. We are here for you.


The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly. The economic forecasts set forth in this material may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful. All investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss. Dollar cost averaging involves continuous investment in securities regardless of fluctuation in price levels of such securities. An investor should consider their ability to continue purchasing through fluctuating price levels. Such a plan does not assure a profit and does not protect against loss in declining markets.

[1], Daily Alert, July 17th, 2020. (Subscription only)

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