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Common measure of value abstract Medium of exchange concrete Standard for deferred payments abstract Store of value concrete General functions mostly macro-economic and abstract Liquid asset Framework of the market allocative system prices A causative factor in the economy Controller of the economy The table above comes from page 27 of A History of Money.
Not everything used as money as all the functions listed above. Furthermore the functions of any particular form of money may change over time.
As Glyn Davies points out on page The logical listing of functions in the table therefore implies no priority in either time or importance, for those which may be both first and foremost reflect only their particular time and place. Money is anything that is widely used for making payments and accounting for debts and credits.
Causes of the Development of Money In his preface the author writes: Commodities were chosen as preferred barter items for a number of reasons - some because they were conveniently and easily stored, some because they had high value densities and were easily portable, and some because they were durable.
These commodities, being widely desired, would be easy to exchange for others and therefore they came to be accepted as money. To the extent that the disadvantages of barter provided an impetus for the development of money that impetus was purely economic but archaeological, literary and linguistic evidence of the ancient world, and the tangible evidence of actual types of primitive money from many countries demonstrate that barter was not the main factor in the origins and earliest development of money.
Many societies had laws requiring compensation in some form for crimes of violence, instead of the Old Testament approach of "an eye for an eye".
The author notes that the word to "pay" is derived from the Latin "pacare" meaning originally to pacify, appease, or make peace with - through the appropriate unit of value customarily acceptable to both sides.
A similarly widespread custom was payment for brides in order to compensate the head of the family for the loss of a daughter's services. Rulers have since very ancient times imposed taxes on or exacted tribute from their subjects. Religious obligations might also entail payment of tribute or sacrifices of some kind.
Thus in many societies there was a requirement for a means of payment for blood-money, bride-money, tax or tribute and this gave a great impetus to the spread of money.
Objects originally accepted for one purpose were often found to be useful for other non-economic purposes and, because of their growing acceptability began to be used for general trading also, supplementing or replacing barter.
Thus the use of money evolved out of deeply rooted customs; the clumsiness of barter provided an economic impulse but that was not the primary factor.
It evolved independently in different parts of the world. About the only civilization that functioned without money was that of the Incas.
Primitive Forms of Money 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 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 s.
The potlatch ceremonies of Native Americans were a form of barter that had social and ceremonial functions that were at least as important as its economic functions.If you're currently on the keto diet or getting ready to start, you'll want to make sure you're following it correctly.
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