Easter Island musical stone went from priceless to worthless


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/03/21/easter-island-musical-stone-we.html


Still waiting for the current activist generation to turn its attention to diamonds, reject the traditional valuation and start diamond-shaming, causing the diamond market to collapse. It seems inevitable.


That rock and FBook have a lot in common.


There are stones in Micronesia that acted as money. They basically just changed ownership with out moving. They had to quarry and make them off island, and one time one off them sank off the coast, but they still counted it.


Cowries and other objects have been used as currency as well. Thankfully for cowries, that’s no longer the case:


And tbh, I mangled the title of this post in my mind when first reading it and thought the post would be about something like what Septimius Severus did here:


They already have zero value. The only reason diamonds are considered valuable in this day and age is because DeBeers has an illegal monopoly on them and props up their price. Were the monopoly to go away, diamonds would be worth barely more than quartz.


“Petroglyphs with Vulva Forms” is the name of my new The Mamas & The Papas cover band.


I want to see one made of bitumen. The first bit coin.


I watched all the way to the end to see if he would try to blow into the rock and now I am disappointed.


In other words, they were considered to be just for factories until people realized that there were so many of them there was no way to make money just selling to factories. How do you sell millions of brown rocks when no one likes brown rocks? Fashion them into jewelry and call them “chocolate.”

yes, yes, your condemnation is more general…


Um, it’s not any kind of revelation that something’s material trade value is worth what you can get someone to trade you for it. Even our dog knows that. Our cats, on the other paw, are more on the Danegeld system: feed us or your furniture become scratching posts.

I did enjoy the rock’s history lesson though, and the shade he threw on the diamond scam.

Did my part. My wife’s engagement ring is sapphire (by her own request :sparkling_heart:).


Lots of traditions have rocks that sing or shout. IMHO, they all look like… Well…



I agree (well they have some value based on their use in industry), but if you use that definition of value, then stocks are worthless (only worth what the next fool pays) and money is too (fiat currency RON PAUL!). I don’t think bitcoin have any value, but if someone wanted to give me some in exchange for a shoe shine, I’d agree. I would then subcontract the shoe shine, not knowing how nor having the necessary equipment for shining shoes.


Stocks and currency are transactional mediums with inherent purpose.

Diamonds are common, pretty rocks.


Like the rock, diamonds also only have value when people want them. Plenty of people don’t want diamonds. It’s a voluntary scam you can buy into if you want to, but for most people it’d be stupid to spend money on diamonds.


Also a valuable lesson for cryptocurrencies. Proponents like to claim they have inherent value because they’re inherently rare, but they’re only valuable when enough other people consider them valuable. The whole hype around bitcoin is mostly to convince more people that they should consider these things valuable, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll stay valuable. Especially without a sizeable economy accepting them as payment.


Stocks and currency have intentional, not inherent, purpose. Tell the people of Zimbabwe what the inherent purpose of their currency is. Or Enron paper-holders.

In the end, diamonds have just as much fiat as currency; both are sound until people stop believing in them. I agree that people should stop believing in diamonds, but they haven’t.


I don’t know about bitumen, but I do know about coal coins

I also found out that since the last time I looked for a coal coin image someone has decided that a cryptocurrency based on coal is a good idea.


They are pretty hard besides being pretty when correctly cut. Also, the do have interesting optical and electrical utility. I am not sure about how intrinsic their value is, but their properties making them useful, and thus somewhat valued are intrinsic.

That said, most of the ones actually used are, as far as I know, artificially sourced.