Friday, August 26, 2011

The History OF Money

The History OF Money

BarterPaper Currency
ShellsPotlach
First Metal MoneyWampum
SilverGold Standard
Leather CurrencyDepression
NosesToday and Tomorrow
Barter
The first people didn't buy goods from other people with money. They used barter. Barter is the exchange of personal possessions of value for other goods that you want. This kind of exchange started at the beginning of humankind and is still used today. From 9,000-6,000 B.C., livestock was often used as a unit of exchange. Later, as agriculture developed, people used crops for barter. For example, I could ask another farmer to trade a pound of apples for a pound of bananas.
Shells
At about 1200 B.C. in China, cowry shells became the first medium of exchange, or money. The cowry has served as money throughout history even to the middle of this century.
First Metal Money
China, in 1,000 B.C., produced mock cowry shells at the end of the Stone Age. They can be thought of as the original development of metal currency. In addition, tools made of metal, like knives and spades, were also used in China as money. From these models, we developed today's round coins that we use daily. The Chinese coins were usually made out of base metals which had holes in them so that you could put the coins together to make a chain.
Silver
At about 500 B.C., pieces of silver were the earliest coins. Eventually in time they took the appearance of today and were imprinted with numerous gods and emperors to mark their value. These coins were first shown in Lydia, or Turkey, during this time, but the methods were used over and over again, and further improved upon by the Greek, Persian, Macedonian, and Roman empires. Not like Chinese coins, which relied on base metals, these new coins were composed from scarce metals such as bronze, gold, and silver, which had a lot of intrinsic value.
Leather Currency
In 118 B.C., banknotes in the form of leather money were used in China. One-foot square pieces of white deerskin edged in vivid colors were exchanged for goods. This is believed to be the beginning of a kind of paper money.
Noses
During the ninth century A.D., the Danes in Ireland had an expression "To pay through the nose." It comes from the practice of cutting the noses of those who were careless in paying the Danish poll tax.
Paper Currency
From the ninth century to the fifteenth century A.D., in China, the first actual paper currency was used as money. Through this period the amount of currency skyrocketed causing severe inflation. Unfortunately, in 1455 the use of the currency vanished from China. European civilization still would not have paper currency for many years.
Potlach
In 1500, North American Indians engaged in potlach, a term that describes the exchange of gifts at banquets, dances, and various rituals. Since the trading of gifts was so important in figuring the leaders’ community status, potlach went out of control as the gifts became more extravagant in an effort to surpass others' gifts.
Wampum
In 1535, though likely well before this earliest recorded date, strings of beads made from clam shells, called wampum, are used by North American Indians as money. Wampummeans white, the color of the clam shells and the beads.
Gold Standard
In 1816, England made gold a benchmark of value. This meant that the value of currency was pegged to a certain number of ounces of gold. This would help to prevent inflation of currency. The U.S. went on the gold standard in 1900.
Depression
Because of the depression of the 1930's, the U.S. began a world wide movement to end tying currency to gold. Today, few nations tie the value of their currency to the price of gold. Other government and financial institutions now try to control inflation.
Today
At present, nations continue to change their currencies. For example, the U.S. has already changed its $100 and $20 banknotes. More changes are in the works.
TomorrowTomorrow is already here. Electronic money (or digital cash) is already being exchanged over the Internet.