Wednesday 16 July 2014

Cake as Currency

I saw a competition recently to write a blog post about currency and wanted to enter. The topic was very broad - literally, just "write about currency" - but obviously it would have to fit into my cakes and craft blog. And then I started thinking about cake as currency, so this is my manifesto!

It wasn't all that long ago when several European nations decided to create a new currency and form the euro zone. A brave and - depending on who you ask, either sensible or foolish - move, there's no doubt that the creation of the euro has had a massive impact on trade and tourism.

More recently we have seen the creation of the bitcoin - a virtual currency that is actually a software-based payment system, but none the less there are now bitcoin ATMs where you can withdraw funds from your computer's account as cold hard cash (well, Canadian dollars anyway, which you would then need to take to a travel money bureau or somewhere like Cash 4 Coins if you wanted any other currency).

Bitcoin in some ways is no more strange than what we think of as 'actual' money - coins and notes are really just bits of paper and metal that represent a certain value. So why couldn't you use anything else as currency - like cake?

The time and effort that goes into making a cake gives it an intrinsic value. And you can slice a cake however you want, so when it came to making payments, just hand over a smaller or larger slice of cake!

Cake is theoretically available in unlimited quantities so you would never have to worry about running out of currency. And instead of working in a job in return for currency (wages), you could cut out the middle man and work at making your own cakes.

Of course, not everyone is sufficiently skilled at making cakes (though it's really not hard if you follow a decent recipe) - so this is where bakers could come in, providing a service and acting as a conduit between people who have money, and people who need money - rather like an investment banker (and I doubt bakers would cause a financial crisis).

Money is what makes the world go round, and currency needs to be exchanged for goods and services for an economy to grow. Cake has another advantage in this case - as it wouldn't keep indefinitely, it would have to be eaten - so the currency couldn't be hoarded and would have to be spent for the good of the economy.

Let's not forget the economy that would spring up around cakes- the manufacture and sale of ingredients, equipment, decorations and so on - obviously we have this already, but if cake was currency, it would be even more significant.

Of course, all this will never happen and let's face it, never should (I hope you realise this blog post is very much tongue in cheek!). But I think many of us do use cake as currency in a small way - whether it is to say thank you, or welcome, or as a bribe to persuade someone to help you! I'm all for making cakes as a thank you or as a barter - I'll make you a cake if you fix my computer - as it's a great way to show off your skills and make someone happy. Forget economics - this is bakonomics.

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