Yesterday, I wrote about measurability invading on the value or quality judgements we make about a thing. Check it out here.
This past week, I've started listening to Debt, by David Graeber, and it is thoroughly blowing my mind. He essentially is saying (so far--I'm only a few chapters deep into this monster) that while most of us believe today that the progression of human-economic development went like this: first, trade; then, money; then, debt--the reality is roughly the opposite. Debt is actually primary in that it relates to our intrinsic human notion of credit, as in "I owe you a favor for giving me shoes," or "he deserves credit for saving our tribe from the mastadon."
Once you owe someone something, it is only a few jumps away to see how easily something like money could stand-in as a tool for counting. Money itself, then, is not representative of value (like, a gold coin is not intrinsically "valuable" beyond it's ability to be traded for shit that matters, like food).
So why is money so exalted, and at the very center of damn-near every discussion? I'm sure Dr. Graeber will have some great reasons, but in the meantime, here's mine: Cash is considered primary now simply because it is easier to count. And if that's the case, we have to wonder why and how our current money system won out. I mean, isn't all the fuss about money in general just people's attempt to profit on this essential "slipperiness" (the ease at which money is cycled around and through systems) of money?
In yesterday's case about weight being our culture's primary health metric, I see the same thing going on. There's a moral here somewhere.