Money makes the world go round; we want it, we strive for it and we fight for it. It is at the heart of our socioeconomic system and became the dominant objective in our lives. But what is it?
Originally, money was used to facilitate exchange; it avoided the inconveniences of a pure barter system in which goods have to be traded against other goods. Money can only become money when a group of people agrees it to be money. Hence, if we accept shells to be a medium of exchange; it shall become money.
In the past it used to have an intrinsic value; may it be the value of a shell or gold. Nowadays, money does not represent intrinsic value anymore; it is only worth the paper it is printed on. Therefore, it is important to maintain a certain scarcity, otherwise people lose faith in it and do not accept it to be money anymore.
Currently, there are three different forms of money; (1) money that is exchanged only between banks, (2) the paper money we hold in our wallets and (3) the money that exists in the form of digits on our bank accounts. The first two forms represent only a small part and are issued by the central banks of states. The last form represents the majority of money and is issued by commercial banks when lending out money. Hence, money is debt and for every €/$/£ in the system someone is paying interests. And because there is never enough money in the system to pay for all the interests, more and more money (or debt) needs to be created; until we might lose faith in it.
It is therefore why investing is a good thing. It allows us to attach real value to money. We ultimately hold tiny parts of companies that produce goods and services for the society.
However, it does not solve the underlying problem of our monetary system. This challenge is a little bit bigger. To solve it, we need to understand money. I therefore encourage everyone to dig into that topic. As a starting point I propose you to consider the initiative PositiveMoney. It addresses the problem of the current system and proposes an alternative; thoughts worth thinking about.