When and why did people first start using money? – Kyle Weissenberger

This article written by Chapurukha Kusimba describes money as a universal language, something that everyone, everywhere understands. Starting in the upper Paleolithic nearly forty thousand years ago, individuals would barter for weapons and tools, creating the first forms of currency. The article describes that the common belief is that money first originated as a form of gift exchanges, as well as for debt repayments. The first forms of currency were simply uncommon items, shells, metals, gems, and some pastoral societies even used animals as a form of currency. Dating back some five thousand years, the Mesopotamian Shekel is known as the first form of coin currency.

Since then, currency has taken many different forms, and played a variety of roles. Coinage could be used as a controlling force between leaders and subjects, used for political control through raising taxes for armies, public works, etc. Money is also used as a stabilizing force, used for nonviolent exchanges of goods between different people and nations. Money was and is to this day used as a means of exchange of goods, a form of payment, standard of value, and a differentiator between the wealthy and the poor.

The interesting part about this article is the similarities and differences between currency today, and in the past. For the most part, the uses of money are still rather similar. What varies are the forms of currency. No longer do people use cows as a form of currency, or shells, and even our coins are no longer made from precious metals. More recently there has been a rise in crypto currencies, a currency with no physical attributes at all. I also take particular interest in the fact that money can come from nothing, that money can have value based on the common belief that it has value.

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