Unconventional Form of Money- Cigarettes
One feature of group existence can be observed on the group’s economic activity and how the individuals establish themselves socially. As evident in the video (Stalag 17), the unconventional use of cigarettes as a currency boosted a person’s standard of material luxury. In prison confines, this is considered a serious matter as the power bestowed on the cigarettes made the urgency of daily needs to be much appreciated.
Cigarettes And 3 Functions of Money
In regards to money as a medium of exchange, the cigarettes were used for trading for other essentials. It is through these transactions that a person’s preferences are articulated, and comfort increased. Most trading was done for food in exchange for cigarettes, as their status rose from regular commodity to currency (Stalag 17, 1953). Moreover, as a unit of account, the cigarette was the standard of charge in that the trade of all commodities and their comparative values were not expressed in terms of each other but rather in terms of cigarettes. As a result, the prices were well known, resulting in equality (Radford, 1945). Lastly, as a store of value, people had to leave their extra essentials such as clothing and toiletries until they were sold at fixed prices in cigarettes. Only trades in cigarettes were recognized.
Best and Worst Functions
The cigarettes were best at satisfying the unit of account as the same standard quota was used for trading supplies everywhere and at a reasonable price, which was outstanding. The prevalence of a sole computation standard brought accord to the market and comfort in the camps (Radford, 1945). Contrastingly, cigarettes were terrible as a store of value as only sales done through cigarettes were acknowledged, which caused people to hoard when the cigarettes were scarce.
Personal Encounter on Non-Conventional Form of Money
In high school, we were accustomed to using the bread roll as a medium of exchange for different essentials such as stationery, toiletries, and even with different meals that were offered. The bread roll was highly valued as it was the most prized edible, given that there was no canteen.
Radford, R. A. (1945). The economic organization of a POW camp. Economica, 12(48), 189-201.
Stalag 17. (1953). [Video]. Retrieved 21st Apr 2020 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKc2GJk2OLQ