Why and When did money start?

The article by Chapurukha Kusimba discusses about when and why people start using money. In modern days, there are many types of money. There are paper dollar bills, coins, and even online currency. Bitcoin is a type of “cryptocurrency” that uses encryption techniques to regulate the amount of currency and verify the transfer of the actual funds. 1 Bitcoin is worth roughly $6,400 USD.

Although currency changed drastically over time,  it is still used for the same general reason. Currency is used for a method of payment, what class you’re in, and as a way to trade. Apparently it is very difficult to accurately date currency involving currency of various kinds. But evidence reports that modern day money emerged from paying off debts and gifts. Also, objects that are very rare to appear in nature could also be used as units of value. These included native copper, meteorites, native iron, amber, obsidian, gold, silver, and etc. Even now, diamonds and gold are still used as units of value since they are very rare to appear in nature. The first known form of currency emerged about 5,000 years ago called the Mesopotamian Shekel. The discovery of lead, copper, silver, and gold all over the globe suggests that the using of coins was common at the beginning of the first millennium A.D. The hordes of coins were especially found in Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Coins were commonly used due to its portability, durability, transportability, and inherent value. Money soon became a way to control politically. Even now, politics is controlled by the amount of funding they get. On the other hand, money can also be used as a stabilizing agent to handle nonviolent exchanges of goods and information. The picture above is Medieval tally sticks. They were used to record transactions and monetary debts.

In the past, no society was self-sustaining and money allowed people to interact and socialize with other groups. Civilizations used different forms of money to create alliances, friendships, mobilize resources to specific and political conditions. The significance of currency was to unite everyone . Money is like a common language everyone could speak.

I think what Kusimba is trying to say in this article is currency has had a huge effect in society and our history. The effects that it caused may have not been always good, but the amount of benefits that it brought overwhelms the bad. While currency has changed the looks over time, it is still being used for the same reasons now.

2 Replies to “Why and When did money start?”

  1. Eric,

    Thank you for providing a great summary of Kusimba’s article for the class. Great use of pictures! What benefits coincide with currency? Did reading this article alter the way your view the use of currency within our current society?

  2. I liked that you mentioned a relatively new modern currency (Bitcoin) so that you can make a modern connection at the beginning. It helps show that your topic is not just something in the past– it is very much still relevant to understand why and how currency is created today.

    Your topic reminded me of this super fun video series on the history of paper money that I watched a while ago. Although it’s a little more limited in scope since it only talks about paper currency, it goes very in depth in a simple and enjoyable format: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nZkP2b-4vo&list=PLhyKYa0YJ_5CL-krstYn532QY1Ayo27s1.

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