What Is Money?

By Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg

One of our favorite questions from readers for Economics in Plain English was deceptively simple: What, after all, is money? And what sets it apart from something that's simply valuable? A big abstract idea like this called for a hands-on experiment.

In this episode, business editor Derek Thompson  pays a visit to a branch of EagleBank in Arlington, VA, to bother the world's friendliest bank teller with a series of dumb requests. As goofy as it seems, this little experiment is a helpful way to illustrate three essential functions of money: a store of value, a unit of account, and a medium of exchange. But you'll have to watch to see why.  

Don't miss Thompson's introduction to the project and the previous installments, which you can watch here.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/08/what-is-money/278980/