top-rated free essay

Origin of Money

May 01, 2001 607 Words
What is Money? At first sight the answer to this question seems obvious. A man or woman in the street would agree on coins and banknote which could be known as checks, for a good or a service but would they accept them from any country? They would probably be less willing to accept them than their own country's coins and notes but bank money actually accounts for by far the greatest proportion by value of the total supply of money. Credit cards and gold are some what different. The gold standard belongs to history but even today in many rich people in different parts of the world would rather keep some of their wealth in the form of gold than in official, inflation-prone currencies. Gold is a attractive type of material which led to its use for monetary transactions for thousands of years. All sorts of things have been used as money at different times in different places. Like amber, beads, cowries, drums, eggs, feathers, gongs, hoes, ivory, jade, kettles, leather, mats, nails, oxen, pigs, quartz, rice, salt, thimbles, umiacs, vodka, wampum, yarns, and zappozats (decorated axes). It is almost impossible to define money in terms of its physical form or properties since these are so diverse. Therefore any definition must be based on its functions, which are units of account, common measure of value ,medium of exchange, and store of value. So with that in mind money is anything that is widely used for making payments and accounting for debts and credits. Money originated because before that the only form of money is barter and the things that was wrong with barter was that it was inconvenient , in such case it was livestock and whenever someone wanted to trade they would have to bring their herd with them when the transaction took place. The use of primitive forms of money in the Third World and North America is more recent and better documented than in Europe and its study sheds light on the probable origins of modern money. Among the topics treated are the use of wampum and the custom of the potlatch or competitive gift exchange in North America, disc-shaped stones in Yap, cowrie shells over much of Africa and Asia, cattle, manillas and whales teeth. Manillas were ornamental metallic objects worn as jewelry in west Africa and used as money as recently as 1949. They were an ostentatious form of ornamentation, their value in that role being a prime reason for their acceptability as money. Wampum's use as money in north America undoubtedly came about as an extension of its desirability for ornamentation. Precious metals have had ornamental uses throughout history and that could be one reason why they were adopted for use as money in many ancient societies and civilizations. In Fijian society gifts of whales teeth were (and in certain cases still are) a significant feature of certain ceremonies. One of their uses was as bride-money, with a symbolic meaning similar to that of the engagement ring in Western society. Whales teeth were "tambua" (from which our word "taboo" comes) meaning that they had religious significance, as did the fei stones of Yap which were still being used as money as recently as the mid 1960s. In conclusion money could be anything of value, units of account, had to be durable, and not so vas that everyone could get as much as they wanted. Money wouldn't be much of a value unless the people had faith in it and believe that it will be good for something such as a trade or a services.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • money and banking

    ...Koffa Gboilee Money and Banking Topic proposal To: Professor: James Garvin Date: 3/22/2014 In the last five years, the Federal Reserve has adopted a huge monetary system of decreasing and minimizing the pressure of the interest rate to assist and unsure the hesitant economy and the financial market. The Federal Reserve has by all me...

    Read More
  • Money

    ...3. MONEY Money is everything that serves as universally excepted medium of exchange or means of payment. Functions of money: Medium of exchange – enables people to exchange goods and services for other commodities Store of value – at home money loses value because of inflation so it is better to deposit financial assets with a bank. Mon...

    Read More
  • The main function of the fiat money

    ...University of Economics Department of Management and Business Essay The main function of the fiat money Subject: Finance money and credit Done by: The second-year student of the department of Man...

    Read More
  • Plastic Money

    ...WHAT IS PLASTIC MONEY? •Plastic money are the alternative to the cash or the standard ‘Money'. •Plastic money is the generic term for all types of bank cards, credit cards, debit cards, smart cards, etc. DEFINITION The :plastic” portion of this term refers to the plastic construction of credit cards, as opposed to p...

    Read More
  • History of Money

    ...------------------------------------------------- History of money The history of money spans thousands of years. Numismatics is the scientific study of money and its history in all its varied forms. Many items have been used as commodity money such as natural scarce precious metals, cowry shells, barley, beads etc., as well as ma...

    Read More
  • What Is Money?

    ...Lecture Notes on MONEY, BANKING, AND FINANCIAL MARKETS Peter N. Ireland Department of Economics Boston College Chapter 3: What Is Money? 1. Meaning of Money 2. Functions of Money Medium of Exchange Unit of Account Store of Value 3. Measuring Money Theoretical Measures Empirical Me...

    Read More
  • Electronic Money

    ...Electronic Money: Trends in Future Spending Throughout the years, forms of payment and money have evolved drastically. From Native Americans using wampum to the invention of PayPal and other computerized payment methods, the way we spend money has become more adaptive to our lifestyles with convenience and ease of use. As electronic commerce ...

    Read More
  • Money and Banking

    ...Amber Love 9-9-2013 Economics Money and Banking Assignment 1. During the early Roman era, the merchants of Rome frequently traveled beyond the empire’s borders to trade with other peoples. Summarize the trading difficulties that probably arose in the barter economies they encountered. • During raids as they were trading wi...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.