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Weekend reading: Funny money

What caught my eye this week.

I am late with the links this weekend, so let’s get stuck in with a “show me the money!” moment.

And not just any money, mind, but the 8,800lb coins of Yap Island in the Pacific Ocean:


A Yap island coin: We’re going to need a bigger sofa.

Writing on Medium [2], Jamie Catherwood explains that:

For centuries, the natives of Yap have used ‘rai stones’ as a form of payment, and store of value.

These ‘stones’, however, were actually gargantuan limestone discs weighing up to 8,800 lbs., and standing 12 feet tall.

The natives ‘minted’ (mined) their currency on Palau Island, and upon their return the Chief of Yap valued each rai stone in front of the entire population.

In the same ceremony, locals would then purchase the currency.

Money is nearly always an abstraction. Trust is usually where the value lies, not in any intrinsic value. Even the gold and silver coins of antiquity were debased and inflated away.

Catherwood writes:

After considering Bitcoin’s value within historical context, it should be clear that criticizing the crypto-currency for being “based on nothing” is a weak argument at best.

He points out that in the past even rather ghoulish religious artifacts have been used as a store of value.

I haven’t made my mind up about Bitcoin yet.

But I’m pretty sure it’d be an easier sell if instead of the dollar, Visa, or PayPal it was up against giant limestone discs and the teeth of long-dead saints…

From Monevator

Taking more risk does not guarantee more reward – Monevator [3]

From the archive-ator: The one number to beat if you want to retire early [Dated in modern thinking, but I still believe a decent goal for ambitious 30-somethings]Monevator [4]


Note: Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view you can click to read the piece without being a paid subscriber. Try privacy/incognito mode to avoid cookies. Consider subscribing if you read them a lot!1 [5]

Property buyers dive in as Turkey’s lira plunges – Guardian [6]

New Zealand bans sales of homes to foreigners – BBC [7]

House prices fall at fastest rate since financial crisis, sales tumble 65% – ThisIsMoney [8]

Buy-to-let lending slumps as landlords take fright at tax changes [Search result]FT [9]

London’s planning application postcode lottery – ThisIsMoney [10]

Emerging markets investors feel effects of Turkey crisis [Search result]FT [11]


Wake up call: Even Germany looks set to miss its climate goals – Bloomberg [13]

Products and services

Invesco Perpetual at the top of ‘top dogs’ funds list – Investment Week [14]

Banks to check payee’s name matches account number [At last!] ThisIsMoney [15]

Cracking summer: UK insurers expect rise in subsidence claims – Guardian [16]

Ratesetter will pay you £100 [and me a cash bonus] if you invest £1,000 for a year – Ratesetter [17]

Lovely bubbly: a case for investment in English sparkling wine [Search result]FT [18]

Why your holiday insurer may refuse your claim – even if thieves break in – ThisIsMoney [19]

Royal Mail changes redirection fees to ‘per household’ rather than ‘per surname’ – Guardian [20]

US angel network wants to mobilize 100,000 women investors – Fast Company [21]

The case for multi-factor funds – Morningstar [22]

Do ESG (environmental, social and governance) funds hurt your returns? – ETF.com [23]

Ticketmaster closes resale sites, but will this fix alleged over-pricing? – Guardian [24]

Millions of Virgin Media customers to be hit with inflation-busting 4.5% price hike – ThisIsMoney [25]

Comment and opinion

We all have it now – Of Dollars and Data [26]

How to change somebody’s mind about investing – Oblivious Investor [27]

Index funds will be just fine confronting cruel markets – Bloomberg [28]

More: Are index fund investors more vulnerable to bubbles? – Behavioural Investment [29]

The half-life of investment strategies – A Wealth of Common Sense [30]

Your lying mind – The Atlantic [31]

Saving rates revisited – My Deliberate Life [32]

How we track our expenses – Young FI Guy [33]

Get rich with simplicity – The Escape Artist [34]

A high net worth investor re-calibrates his portfolio – Fire V London [35]

Is Ted Baker the perfect dividend growth stock? [PDF]UK Value Investor [36]

Can we afford an electric car? Let’s run the numbers – The FIRE Starter [37]

What could Christiano Ronaldo have to teach us about QE? – The Value Perspective [38]

When earning $1 million a year is not enough to retire early – Financial Samurai [39]

Kindle book bargains

Making a Success of Brexit and Reforming the EU by Roger Bootle – £0.99 on Kindle [40]

Liar’s Poker: From the author of the Big Short by Michael Lewis – £0.99 on Kindle [41]

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness by Richard Thaler – £1.99 on Kindle [42]

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven Levitt & Steven Dubner – £1.99 on Kindle [43]


Open letter to the No Deal Brexiteers – Andrew Adonis via Twitter [44]

Disorder, deal, or dead-end: Various Brexit scenarios explored – Reuters [45]

Companies in Brexit ‘supply shock’ as fewer EU nationals arrive – Guardian [46]

Off our beat

The biggest trend in economics today is too often ignored – Bill Gates via LinkedIn [47]

How to avoid loneliness when you work entirely from home – HBR [48]

More: Four ways to prevent loneliness wrecking your retirement – Reuters [49]

UK asylum seekers’ 20-year wait for Home Office ruling – Guardian [50]

Losing Earth: The decade we almost stopped climate change – New York Times [51]

Australian Geographic nature photographer of the year [Gallery]Guardian [52]

Vienna is named the world’s most liveable city – ThisIsMoney [53]

And finally…

“Banking may be necessary, but banks, as we know them, no longer are. New financial technologies, and the advance guard of fintech pioneers, are already hammering at their gates.”
– Tim Price, Investing Through The Looking Glass [54]

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  1. Note some articles can only be accessed through the search results if you’re using PC/desktop view (from mobile/tablet view they bring up the firewall/subscription page). To circumvent, switch your mobile browser to use the desktop view. On Chrome for Android: press the menu button followed by “Request Desktop Site”. [ [59]]