Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I know it’s a truism: everyone likes money even if some sage tells you not to be greedy for acquiring it. Money solves so many problems. Lots, I must say. Without money, we’d be doing trade by barter – one pair of your trousers for half olodo of my garri? Whoever thought of the idea of cowrie shells and money did solve mankind lots of problems.
I was thinking about money and wondering if maths ever had anything related to money? Sure it does, I bet you.
Of all the four basic qualities of money, I think the maths you get to learn or enjoy or ask someone to do for you, has just three. So I call it the quasimoney property of mathematics.
They are: 1. It can serve as a means for payment of debts. 2. It can serve as a store of value. 3. It can serve as a unit of account between mathematicians themselves.
Payment of debts: although I’d rather not recall the barter era, but sometimes we do give maths lessons to some kids in order to offset some debts, not so? Like helping out a friend in a school because you owe him some money with some hours teaching students maths? I know some courts recommend maths lectures as a form of community service for payment of reparations. So, do not despair, your maths can help you in good stead.
But that is not too strong enough to give it money status. Quasimoney, you can agree.
Store of value: The maths you learnt and was acquainted with in high school or college will never leave you; it’s some knowledge that you’ll have for the rest of your life. Recently, while teaching some students maths, I drew from my twelve years old knowledge of maths. So, never despair; whatever you have is for life.
Unit of account: this is the last of the quasimoney qualities. Every mathematician can judge his knowledge against other mathematicians and against the problems he/she is able to solve. Sometimes, this ability is written out on paper in form of certificates, degrees etc. So, whatever maths you have can be quantified and qualified.
Maths is quasimoney. Believe me, don’t throw that knowledge away, even if you just need elementary algebra for your everyday work or the ability to do fundamental calculus. It can put some money, real money, in your bank account.

1 comment:

  1. by the way, i forget to mention the most fundamental quality of feature of money is: as a medium of exchange. Unfortunately, maths doesn't fulfill this, except maybe when star trek arrives, we might be converting?


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