Lending Money vs. Lending an Item or Why Loaning Money is More like a Delayed Trade of Goods

I borrowed an HDMI cable from a friend today. I have a duplicate order of HDMI cables en route to me and I plan to “repay” him with one of the cables from my batch in a day or so.

This transaction led me to the interesting idea that when lending money, the lender is not interested in which bills he gets back (assuming a cash loan). Instead, he’s interested in a like-kind (of same or higher value) exchange.

So is a monetary loan more of a barter than a loan? I think so. You’re getting something of equal value in exchange (and extra value if you charge interest.) Usually when you loan an item (such as a CD or a shovel) you get the exact same item back. When you loan money, you get back money with the same or higher value. But not the same bills.

I wonder what the barter value (in dollars) of this small insight is.