Grenalien’s vacation report part 3: “money”

by Grenalien, class 8B

A cartoon picture of a funny-looking green alien with one big eye.

As part of my project on Earth culture I have talked to quite a lot of humans, and they are all obsessed with a substance called “money”. Money is very important in Earth culture, and yet I am finding it very difficult to understand what money actually is.

Here are some things that I have learned about money:

— Money can take many forms. It can take the form of a piece of paper or a metal disk, which are beautifully painted or engraved with images of humans or of their buildings. However money can also exist in the realm of pure thought, without taking the form of a physical object.

— Many humans carry a thin, rectangular piece of plastic, called a “card”. Like money, cards are also decorated with many images and symbols. Cards are not money, but they can be used to transform money from one form to another.

— There is also a thing called “debt” which is a kind of anti-money, because when you have equal amounts of money and debt, they cancel each-other out. Debt does not take the form of physical objects, and only exists in the realm of ideas.

— None of the humans I talked to knew how much money there is on Earth. I looked it up on their internet and I found several different answers, but the most common answers were around 40,000,000,000,000 dollars.

The really frustrating thing is that when I ask humans why they do certain things, the answer is often “because of money”, but since I still don’t understand what money is, this answer is not really very helpful. I feel like my progress in learning about Earth culture has been very slow, but on the other hand I still have another 12 dabikonks before I return home, so hopefully I will be able to learn a bit more about this beautiful and mysterious culture before then.