Well friends, it’s time for another visit to the Prelinger Archives. This time around, I’ve taken a look at the world of money. Between the current Tax Bill winding its way through Washington, the shift in healthcare mandates which are leaving a number of my self-employed friends in need of pinching their pennies even more tightly, and the upcoming cavalcade of capitalist consumerism that is The Holiday Season, money has been on my mind. So I dove into the Coronet Instructional Films to see what I could learn!
I first present the 1947 film What Is Money? The film follows the journey of a single $5 bill, to show why we use paper money and coins. The bill is traded for manufactured goods, for repair services, and as part of a pay packet. It is handed over when someone wants to cash a check, or buy gasoline; and is eventually returned to the bank, deposited to a savings account. There’s a brief look at barter; there’s object currency like wampum and salt; and gold and silver, eventually minted into coins. The film even explicitly states that our paper and metal currency isn’t intrinsically worth the value stamped upon it; the values are set by the government, and guaranteed to be accepted for that amount. It’s a very good explanation of how and why money works.
Next, a look at keeping yourself on a budget, in Your Thrift Habits. At the beginning of the film, we meet Jack and Ralph. Ralph has a swell new camera, and Jack comments that he wishes his dad would buy him one. Ralph says he bought it with his own money, by saving up for it, using a budget. Intrigued, Jack decides he’ll give it a try – and learns he has to make some sacrifices if he really wants to save. During the course of saving, he also practices some overall good thrift habits: repairing items instead of buying new ones; choosing one thing over another, instead of both; and when he has to buy something new, buying a quality product, because buying cheap never pays off in the long run. After 15 weeks, Jack can afford his own swell camera! Plus, he’s motivated to start saving for something new.
Now we move on to a much more in-depth look at money, with Banks and Credit. In this film there is a deeper explanation of how banks acquire, use, loan, and process money. It gets technical here and there, but it’s a very good introduction to basic finance. There’s an example of a local business owner who wants a loan to pay his distributor early, in order to gain a discount. Because he has built up a good credit history with his bank, his application is approved and the loan is granted.
One more, in full color this time: How To Keep a Job. Taught through example, it covers the basics that I wish more people kept in mind:
- Show up on time; work your full shift
- Do the job you’re assigned
- At the end of the day, neaten up so you’re ready to go tomorrow
- If you have a suggestion for an improvement, make it – courteously
- Don’t badmouth your coworkers or company – it will probably get back to them
- Be mindful, respectful, and helpful
For a more lighthearted look at money on this blog, check out Havilah’s post on Three Broadway Girls.