Financial savings from cows

http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21587226-cattle-may-be-terrible-investment-decent-savings-vehicle-udder-peoples Cows are highly valued in India.

Many people have cows here, particularly in the rural areas, and much less so in the cities. Regardless, this is not only because cows are valued religiously in the Hindu culture, but also because they are used as a form of savings. Cows are very valuable because they can produce milk, dung, and calves. Of course, they can also be expensive to take care of.

Economic myopia discusses how people often impulsively spend money rather than saving it. In other words, spending is much easier than saving. One of the major reasons cows are used in India as a form of ‘savings’ is that a cow is not cash. Of course, if one sells the cow, he will earn money for it, but the cow itself is not bills of Indian rupees piled up.  People can also become attached to their cows (like pets), so trading it for money has more psychological affects than just spending money. It is harder for someone to sell their cow than to just spend, and this is a huge reason as to why cows are used as a form of savings (instead of money).

Similar things are done in other countries. Some people use their sheep, goats, horses, etc as forms of savings. Others save gold and silver jewelry, pass it down within generations, as a form of savings.

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