Everybody wants money. Just ask them – do you want money? They will say "yes, please!"

But try this thought experiment – actually hand them a briefcase with $1mil in cold hard cash. What would happen?

I think the vast majority of people would nearly immediately rid themselves of this cash as fast as possible.

Now, how they rid themselves of it would prove interesting. Some people might buy expensive luxury goods. Some people may donate it to charities. Some people might buy investment instruments. Some people would simply deposit it into a bank account. Most people would probably go with "some combination of the above."

But all of that involves ridding oneself of the actual cold hard cash as fast as possible.

"What is money" is a very complicated question. There are many measures of the money supply. There are many things that are close to money that aren’t quite cash.

But when I asked Matt Yglesias, a little deceptively, about this on Twitter, he pointed me towards this breakdown of Apple’s "cash." Of course, none of this is actually cash. It’s all non-cash near-equivalents. Which are very important things! But they’re not cash.

Sometimes simpler is better. And if we look at money as simply currency, pure and simple, it can be clarifying.

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