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The man who mistook wealth for sheep | WE THE CURIOUS vol.1 no.17

The man who mistook wealth for sheep | WE THE CURIOUS vol.1 no.17

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Published by Mackenzie Hawkins
Money isn't what you think it is.
Money isn't what you think it is.

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Published by: Mackenzie Hawkins on Jun 05, 2010
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01/15/2011

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 We the Curious
 vol.1 No.17
The man who mistookwealth for sheep
 
 “To grow rich is to get money,” wrote Adam Smith in1776. Wealth and money are, therefore, “considered asin every respect synonymous.”  “A rich country, in the same manner as a rich man, issupposed to be a country abounding in money. For some
time after the discovery of America, the rst inquiry of 
the Spaniards, when they arrived upon any unknowncoast, used to be, if there was any gold or silver to befound in the neighborhood? By the information whichthey received, they judged whether it was worthwhile tomake a settlement there, or if the country was worth the
conquering.
Plano Carpino, a monk sent as ambassador from theking of France to one of the sons of the famous Genghis
Khan, says that the Tartars used frequently to ask him,
if there was plenty of sheep and oxen in the kingdom of 
France? Their inquiry had the same object with that of 
the Spaniards. They wanted to know if the country was
rich enough to be worth the conquering.
Among the Tartars, as among all other nations of shepherds, who are generally ignorant of the use of money, cattle are the instruments of commerce andthe measures of value. Wealth, therefore, according tothem, consisted in cattle, as according to the Spaniardsit consisted in gold and silver.
 
by Mackenzie HawkinsREFERENCESThe Wealth of Nations by Adam SmithOf the two, the Tartar notion, perhaps, was the nearestto the truth.” 

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