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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Money as exchange medium

Imagine if money-as-we-know-it had never been invented.

It seems like an impossible idea, but imagine if gold had been an extremely rare substance on earth and thus the idea of using it as an exchange medium had never caught on, and no other substance on earth had become the unquestioned medium that everyone would accept in exchange for the products of their labour.

Perhaps people would have bartered things in the beginning and certain commodities would have become 'money' in the sense that most people would accept them in exchange even if they had no direct use for them.

But as trade expanded and commerce became more complex, instead of there developing a universally acceptable exchange commodity such as gold, people just granted each other credit and kept a record of it.

In other words, instead of swapping commodities to get what they wanted, people just kept a record of what they delivered to others, and those who received the goods kept a record of what they owed.


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