The value of words
I’m currenty rereading Louis de Bernières’ series of novels set in a ficticious South American country. In the first book, The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts, the revolutionaries give people receipts whenever they take something from them, and say that they will pay everything back after the revolution. Many of the people who receive these receipts are unable to read them and don’t really understand their purpose, however they are impressed by the writing on them and start using them as an alternative currency. The value of the receipts depends on the number of words, so people ask the revolutionaries to write more on them.
I haven’t been able to discover whether receipts have been or are being used in this way in South America or elsewhere. Does anyone know?