from Sovereign Man:
Human beings have come up with some crazy ideas for money and finance over the years. Conch shells. Beads. Animal skins. Salt. Rice. All of these were used as a form of money at one time or another.
But the strangest by far has got to be the Rai Stones of Yap Island.
Yap is a tiny speck in the western Pacific, a few hours by plane from the Philippines and Guam. Long ago, islanders began using gigantic limestone discs called Rai Stones as a form of money Rai Stones were large– the size of a mid-sized car– so they were seldom moved. And they could be anywhere… at the bottom of the ocean, in the middle of the jungle.
So rather than roll your Rai Stones down to a local bank, or pile them up in the back yard, everyone on the island just sort of knew who owned which Rai Stones.
And whenever there was a transaction, word got around that ownership of a particular Rai Stone had changed hands.
It was crude, but it worked.
This is the hallmark of any well-functioning financial system: the ability to properly account for private property ownership.
Think about it– when you buy a house, there’s a deed that’s recorded in the local clerk’s office. When you buy a car, a certificate of title is issued.
This makes the chain of ownership very clear and unmistakable. You know with 100% certainty that whatever you buy is exclusively yours.
But strangely enough, this isn’t the way it works when you buy stocks in the Land of the Free.
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