Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Money as the standard of standards

Being a geek and someone who roots for the underdog, I have always been intrigued by the concept of standards, which are so integral to the everyday functioning of our lives but are so hidden that people can't think about them.  Just think about the standards that are enabling this blog post:

  1. HTML -- tells the web browser how to lay things out
  2. TCP/IP -- lets the computers talk to each other
  3. UNICODE or ASCII -- I don't even know, honestly, whatever cross-platform standard there is that tells the computers to associate letters with keystrokes
I'm sure there are lots more that I don't know about.

Or think about standard screw and nut sizes or 2 by 4s and how they let us put things together and design things abstractly before actually implementing.

Listening to a lecture on money from my books-on-"tape" course on economics in the car today it defined money as a:
  1. Medium of exchange
  2. Store of value
  3. Unit of account
That simplified commerce so that people could function in their economic lives, get away from barter and or weighing and scrutinizing gold nuggets. So in a sense, money is the ur-standard on which all other standards are based.

Or maybe language is.

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