History of Money, Investing and Banking

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Money is any object or record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a given country or socio-economic context.[1][2][3] The main functions of money are distinguished as: a medium of exchange; a unit of account; a store of value; and, occasionally in the past, a standard of deferred payment.[4][5] Any kind of object or secure verifiable record that fulfills these functions can serve as money.

Money originated as commodity money, but nearly all contemporary money systems are based on fiat money.[4] Fiat money is without intrinsic use value as a physical commodity, and derives its value by being declared by a government to be legal tender; that is, it must be accepted as a form of payment within the boundaries of the country, for "all debts, public and private".

The money supply of a country consists of currency (banknotes and coins) and bank money (the balance held in checking accounts and savings accounts). Bank money usually forms by far the largest part of the money supply. [6][7][8]

Contents [hide]
1 History
1.1 Etymology
2 Functions
2.1 Medium of exchange
2.2 Unit of account
2.3 Store of value
2.4 Standard of deferred payment
3 Money supply
3.1 Market liquidity
4 Types of money
4.1 Commodity money
4.2 Representative money
4.3 Fiat money
4.4 Currency
4.5 Commercial bank money
5 Monetary policy
6 See also
7 References

History
A 640 BC one-third stater electrum coin from Lydia.Main article: History of money
The use of barter-like methods may date back to at least 100,000 years ago, though there is no evidence of a society or economy that relied primarily on barter.[9] Instead, non-monetary societies operated largely along the principles of gift economics. When barter did occur, it was usually between either complete strangers or potential enemies.[10]

Many cultures around the world eventually developed the use of commodity money. The shekel was originally a unit of weight, and referred to a specific weight of barley, which was used as currency.[11] The first usage of the term came from Mesopotamia circa 3000 BC. Societies in the Americas, Asia, Africa and Australia used shell money – often, the shells of the money cowry (Cypraea moneta L. or C. annulus L.). According to Herodotus, the Lydians were the first people to introduce the use of gold and silver coins.[12] It is thought by modern scholars that these first stamped coins were minted around 650–600 BC.[13]

Song Dynasty Jiaozi, the world's earliest paper moneyThe system of commodity money eventually evolved into a system of representative money.[citation needed] This occurred because gold and silver merchants or banks would issue receipts to their depositors – redeemable for the commodity money deposited. Eventually, these receipts became generally accepted as a means of payment and were used as money. Paper money or banknotes were first used in China during the Song Dynasty. These banknotes, known as "jiaozi", evolved from promissory notes that had been used since the 7th century. However, they did not displace commodity money, and were used alongside coins. Banknotes were first issued in Europe by Stockholms Banco in 1661, and were again also used alongside coins. The gold standard, a monetary system where the medium of exchange are paper notes that are convertible into pre-set, fixed quantities of gold, replaced the use of gold coins as currency in the 17th-19th centuries in Europe. These gold standard notes were made legal tender, and redemption into gold coins was discouraged. By the beginning of the 20th century almost all countries had adopted the gold standard, backing their legal tender notes with fixed amounts of gold.

After World War II, at the Bretton Woods Conference, most countries adopted fiat currencies that were fixed to the US dollar. The US dollar was in turn fixed to gold. In 1971 the US government suspended the convertibility of the US dollar to gold. After this many countries de-pegged their currencies from the US dollar, and most of the world's currencies became unbacked by anything except the governments' fiat of legal tender and the ability to convert the money into goods via payment.

EtymologyThe word "money" is believed to originate from a temple of Hera, located on Capitoline, one of Rome's seven hills. In the ancient world Hera was often associated with money. The temple of Juno Moneta at Rome was the place where the mint of Ancient Rome was located.[14] The name "Juno" may derive from the Etruscan goddess Uni (which means "the one", "unique", "unit", "union", "united") and "Moneta" either from the Latin word "monere" (remind, warn, or instruct) or the Greek word "moneres" (alone, unique).

In the Western world, a prevalent term for coin-money has been specie, stemming from Latin in specie, meaning 'in kind'.[15]

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In the past, money was generally considered to have the following four main functions, which are summed up in a rhyme found in older economics textbooks: "Money is a matter of functions four, a medium, a measure, a standard, a store." That is, money functions as a medium of exchange, a unit of account, a standard of deferred payment, and a store of value.[5] However, modern textbooks now list only three functions, that of medium of exchange, unit of account, and store of value, not considering a standard of deferred payment as a distinguished function, but rather subsuming it in the others.[4][16][17]

There have been many historical disputes regarding the combination of money's functions, some arguing that they need more separation and that a single unit is insufficient to deal with them all. One of these arguments is that the role of money as a medium of exchange is in conflict with its role as a store of value: its role as a store of value requires holding it without spending, whereas its role as a medium of exchange requires it to circulate.[5] Others argue that storing of value is just deferral of the exchange, but does not diminish the fact that money is a medium of exchange that can be transported both across space and time.[18] The term 'financial capital' is a more general and inclusive term for all liquid instruments, whether or not they are a uniformly recognized tender.

Medium of exchangeMain article: Medium of exchange
When money is used to intermediate the exchange of goods and services, it is performing a function as a medium of exchange. It thereby avoids the inefficiencies of a barter system, such as the 'double coincidence of wants' problem.

Unit of accountMain article: Unit of account
A unit of account is a standard numerical unit of measurement of the market value of goods, services, and other transactions. Also known as a "measure" or "standard" of relative worth and deferred payment, a unit of account is a necessary prerequisite for the formulation of commercial agreements that involve debt. To function as a 'unit of account', whatever is being used as money must be:

Divisible into smaller units without loss of value; precious metals can be coined from bars, or melted down into bars again.
Fungible: that is, one unit or piece must be perceived as equivalent to any other, which is why diamonds, works of art or real estate are not suitable as money.
A specific weight, or measure, or size to be verifiably countable. For instance, coins are often milled with a reeded edge, so that any removal of material from the coin (lowering its commodity value) will be easy to detect.
Store of valueMain article: Store of value
To act as a store of value, a money must be able to be reliably saved, stored, and retrieved – and be predictably usable as a medium of exchange when it is retrieved. The value of the money must also remain stable over time. Some have argued that inflation, by reducing the value of money, diminishes the ability of the money to function as a store of value.[4]

Standard of deferred paymentMain article: Standard of deferred payment
While standard of deferred payment is distinguished by some texts,[5] particularly older ones, other texts subsume this under other functions.[4][16][17] A "standard of deferred payment" is an accepted way to settle a debt – a unit in which debts are denominated, and the status of money as legal tender, in those jurisdictions which have this concept, states that it may function for the discharge of debts. When debts are denominated in money, the real value of debts may change due to inflation and deflation, and for sovereign and international debts via debasement and devaluation.

Money supplyMain article: Money supply
In economics, money is a broad term that refers to any financial instrument that can fulfill the functions of money (detailed above). These financial instruments together are collectively referred to as the money supply of an economy. In other words, the money supply is the amount of financial instruments within a specific economy available for purchasing goods or services. Since the money supply consists of various financial instruments (usually currency, demand deposits and various other types of deposits), the amount of money in an economy is measured by adding together these financial instruments creating a monetary aggregate.

Modern monetary theory distinguishes among different ways to measure the money supply, reflected in different types of monetary aggregates, using a categorization system that focuses on the liquidity of the financial instrument used as money. The most commonly used monetary aggregates (or types of money) are conventionally designated M1, M2 and M3. These are successively larger aggregate categories: M1 is currency (coins and bills) plus demand deposits (such as checking accounts); M2 is M1 plus savings accounts and time deposits under $100,000; and M3 is M2 plus larger time deposits and similar institutional accounts. M1 includes only the most liquid financial instruments, and M3 relatively illiquid instruments.

Another measure of money, M0, is also used; unlike the other measures, it does not represent actual purchasing power by firms and households in the economy. M0 is base money, or the amount of money actually issued by the central bank of a country. It is measured as currency plus deposits of banks and other institutions at the central bank. M0 is also the only money that can satisfy the reserve requirements of commercial banks.

Market liquidityMain article: Market liquidity
Market liquidity describes how easily an item can be traded for another item, or into the common currency within an economy. Money is the most liquid asset because it is universally recognised and accepted as the common currency. In this way, money gives consumers the freedom to trade goods and services easily without having to barter.

Liquid financial instruments are easily tradable and have low transaction costs. There should be no (or minimal) spread between the prices to buy and sell the instrument being used as money.

Types of moneyCurrently, most modern monetary systems are based on fiat money. However, for most of history, almost all money was commodity money, such as gold and silver coins. As economies developed, commodity money was eventually replaced by representative money, such as the gold standard, as traders found the physical transportation of gold and silver burdensome. Fiat currencies gradually took over in the last hundred years, especially since the breakup of the Bretton Woods system in the early 1970s.

Commodity moneyMain article: Commodity money

A 1914 British Gold sovereignMany items have been used as commodity money such as naturally scarce precious metals, conch shells, barley, beads etc., as well as many other things that are thought of as having value. Commodity money value comes from the commodity out of which it is made. The commodity itself constitutes the money, and the money is the commodity.[19] Examples of commodities that have been used as mediums of exchange include gold, silver, copper, rice, salt, peppercorns, large stones, decorated belts, shells, alcohol, cigarettes, cannabis, candy, etc. These items were sometimes used in a metric of perceived value in conjunction to one another, in various commodity valuation or Price System economies. Use of commodity money is similar to barter, but a commodity money provides a simple and automatic unit of account for the commodity which is being used as money. Although some gold coins such as the Krugerrand are considered legal tender, there is no record of their face value on either side of the coin. The rationale for this is that emphasis is laid on their direct link to the prevailing value of their fine gold content.[20] American Eagles are imprinted with their gold content and legal tender face value.[21]

Representative moneyMain article: Representative money
In 1875 economist William Stanley Jevons described what he called "representative money," i.e., money that consists of token coins, or other physical tokens such as certificates, that can be reliably exchanged for a fixed quantity of a commodity such as gold or silver. The value of representative money stands in direct and fixed relation to the commodity that backs it, while not itself being composed of that commodity.[22]

Fiat moneyMain article: Fiat money
Fiat money or fiat currency is money whose value is not derived from any intrinsic value or guarantee that it can be converted into a valuable commodity (such as gold). Instead, it has value only by government order (fiat). Usually, the government declares the fiat currency (typically notes and coins from a central bank, such as the Federal Reserve System in the U.S.) to be legal tender, making it unlawful to not accept the fiat currency as a means of repayment for all debts, public and private.[23][24]

Some bullion coins such as the Australian Gold Nugget and American Eagle are legal tender, however, they trade based on the market price of the metal content as a commodity, rather than their legal tender face value (which is usually only a small fraction of their bullion value).[21][25]

Fiat money, if physically represented in the form of currency (paper or coins) can be accidentally damaged or destroyed. However, fiat money has an advantage over representative or commodity money, in that the same laws that created the money can also define rules for its replacement in case of damage or destruction. For example, the U.S. government will replace mutilated Federal Reserve notes (U.S. fiat money) if at least half of the physical note can be reconstructed, or if it can be otherwise proven to have been destroyed.[26] By contrast, commodity money which has been lost or destroyed cannot be recovered.

CurrencyMain article: currency
Currency refers to physical objects generally accepted as a medium of exchange. These are usually the coins and banknotes of a particular government, which comprise the physical aspects of a nation's money supply. The other part of a nation's money supply consists of bank deposits (sometimes called deposit money), ownership of which can be transferred by means of cheques, debit cards, or other forms of money transfer. Deposit money and currency are money in the sense that both are acceptable as a means of payment.[27]

Money in the form of currency has predominated throughout most of history. Usually (gold or silver) coins of intrinsic value (commodity money) have been the norm. However, nearly all contemporary money systems are based on fiat money – modern currency has value only by government order (fiat). Usually, the government declares the fiat currency (typically notes and coins issued by the central bank) to be legal tender, making it unlawful to not accept the fiat currency as a means of repayment for all debts, public and private.[28][29]

Commercial bank moneyMain article: Demand deposit

Demand deposit in cheque form.Commercial bank money or demand deposits are claims against financial institutions that can be used for the purchase of goods and services. A demand deposit account is an account from which funds can be withdrawn at any time by check or cash withdrawal without giving the bank or financial institution any prior notice. Banks have the legal obligation to return funds held in demand deposits immediately upon demand (or 'at call'). Demand deposit withdrawals can be performed in person, via checks or bank drafts, using automatic teller machines (ATMs), or through online banking.[30]

Commercial bank money is created through fractional-reserve banking, the banking practice where banks keep only a fraction of their deposits in reserve (as cash and other highly liquid assets) and lend out the remainder, while maintaining the simultaneous obligation to redeem all these deposits upon demand.[31][32] Commercial bank money differs from commodity and fiat money in two ways, firstly it is non-physical, as its existence is only reflected in the account ledgers of banks and other financial institutions, and secondly, there is some element of risk that the claim will not be fulfilled if the financial institution becomes insolvent. The process of fractional-reserve banking has a cumulative effect of money creation by commercial banks, as it expands money supply (cash and demand deposits) beyond what it would otherwise be. Because of the prevalence of fractional reserve banking, the broad money supply of most countries is a multiple larger than the amount of base money created by the country's central bank. That multiple (called the money multiplier) is determined by the reserve requirement or other financial ratio requirements imposed by financial regulators.

The money supply of a country is usually held to be the total amount of currency in circulation plus the total amount of checking and savings deposits in the commercial banks in the country. In modern economies, relatively little of the money supply is in physical currency. For example, in December 2010 in the U.S., of the $8853.4 billion in broad money supply (M2), only $915.7 billion (about 10%) consisted of physical coins and paper money.[33]

Monetary policyMain article: Monetary policy
When gold and silver are used as money, the money supply can grow only if the supply of these metals is increased by mining. This rate of increase will accelerate during periods of gold rushes and discoveries, such as when Columbus discovered the new world and brought back gold and silver to Spain, or when gold was discovered in California in 1848. This causes inflation, as the value of gold goes down. However, if the rate of gold mining cannot keep up with the growth of the economy, gold becomes relatively more valuable, and prices (denominated in gold) will drop, causing deflation. Deflation was the more typical situation for over a century when gold and paper money backed by gold were used as money in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Modern day monetary systems are based on fiat money and are no longer tied to the value of gold. The control of the amount of money in the economy is known as monetary policy. Monetary policy is the process by which a government, central bank, or monetary authority manages the money supply to achieve specific goals. Usually the goal of monetary policy is to accommodate economic growth in an environment of stable prices. For example, it is clearly stated in the Federal Reserve Act that the Board of Governors and the Federal Open Market Committee should seek “to promote effectively the goals of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.”[34]

A failed monetary policy can have significant detrimental effects on an economy and the society that depends on it. These include hyperinflation, stagflation, recession, high unemployment, shortages of imported goods, inability to export goods, and even total monetary collapse and the adoption of a much less efficient barter economy. This happened in Russia, for instance, after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Governments and central banks have taken both regulatory and free market approaches to monetary policy. Some of the tools used to control the money supply include:

changing the interest rate at which the central bank loans money to (or borrows money from) the commercial banks
currency purchases or sales
increasing or lowering government borrowing
increasing or lowering government spending
manipulation of exchange rates
raising or lowering bank reserve requirements
regulation or prohibition of private currencies
taxation or tax breaks on imports or exports of capital into a country
In the US, the Federal Reserve is responsible for controlling the money supply, while in the Euro area the respective institution is the European Central Bank. Other central banks with significant impact on global finances are the Bank of Japan, People's Bank of China and the Bank of England.

For many years much of monetary policy was influenced by an economic theory known as monetarism. Monetarism is an economic theory which argues that management of the money supply should be the primary means of regulating economic activity. The stability of the demand for money prior to the 1980s was a key finding of Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz[35] supported by the work of David Laidler,[36] and many others. The nature of the demand for money changed during the 1980s owing to technical, institutional, and legal factors and the influence of monetarism has since decreased.

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The history of money spans thousands of years. Numismatics is the scientific study of money and its history in all its varied forms.

Many items have been used as commodity money such as naturally scarce precious metals, cowry shells, barley, beads etc., as well as many other things that are thought of as having value.

Modern money (and most ancient money) is essentially a token — in other words, an abstraction. Paper currency is perhaps the most common type of physical money today. However, objects of gold or silver present many of money's essential properties.

Contents [hide]
1 Non-monetary exchange: barter and gift
2 The emergence of money
3 Commodity money
3.1 Standardized coinage
4 Trade bills of exchange
5 Tallies
6 Goldsmith bankers
7 Demand deposits
8 Banknotes
8.1 Gold-backed banknotes
9 Representative money
10 Fiat money
11 See also
12 References
13 Bibliography
14 Further reading
15 External links

[edit] Non-monetary exchange: barter and giftContrary to popular conception, there is no evidence of a society or economy that relied primarily on barter.[1] Instead, non-monetary societies operated largely along the principles of gift economics. When barter did in fact occur, it was usually between either complete strangers or would-be enemies.[2]

With barter, an individual possessing a material object of value, such as a measure of grain, could directly exchange that object for another object perceived to have equivalent value, such as a small animal, a clay pot or a tool. The capacity to carry out transactions is severely limited since it depends on a coincidence of wants. The seller of food grain has to find a buyer who wants to buy grain and who also could offer in return something the seller wants to buy. There is no common medium of exchange into which both seller and buyer could convert their tradable commodities. There is no standard which could be applied to measure the relative value of various goods and services.

In a gift economy, valuable goods and services are regularly given without any explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards (i.e. there is no formal quid pro quo).[3] Ideally, simultaneous or recurring giving serves to circulate and redistribute valuables within the community.

There are various social theories concerning gift economies. Some consider the gifts to be a form of reciprocal altruism. Another interpretation is that social status is awarded in return for the 'gifts'.[4] Consider for example, the sharing of food in some hunter-gatherer societies, where food-sharing is a safeguard against the failure of any individual's daily foraging. This custom may reflect altruism, it may be a form of informal insurance, or may bring with it social status or other benefits.

[edit] The emergence of moneyIn the absence of a medium of exchange, non-monetary societies operated largely along the principles of gift economics.[1]

The Mesopotamian civilization developed a large scale economy based on commodity money. The Babylonians and their neighboring city states later developed the earliest system of economics as we think of it today, in terms of rules on debt, legal contracts and law codes relating to business practices and private property. Money was not only an emergence, it was a necessity.[5][6]

The Code of Hammurabi, the best preserved ancient law code, was created ca. 1760 BC (middle chronology) in ancient Babylon. It was enacted by the sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi. Earlier collections of laws include the code of Ur-Nammu, king of Ur (ca. 2050 BC), the Code of Eshnunna (ca. 1930 BC) and the code of Lipit-Ishtar of Isin (ca. 1870 BC).[7] These law codes formalized the role of money in civil society. They set amounts of interest on debt... fines for 'wrong doing'... and compensation in money for various infractions of formalized law.

The Shekel referred to an ancient unit of weight and currency. The first usage of the term came from Mesopotamia circa 3000 BC. and referred to a specific mass of barley which related other values in a metric such as silver, bronze, copper etc. A barley/shekel was originally both a unit of currency and a unit of weight, just as the British Pound was originally a unit denominating a one pound mass of silver.

[edit] Commodity money
1742 drawing of shells of the money cowry, Cypraea monetaMain article: Commodity money
Bartering has several problems, most notably that it requires a 'coincidence of wants'. For example, if a wheat farmer needs what a fruit farmer produces, a direct swap is impossible as seasonal fruit would spoil before the grain harvest. A solution is to trade fruit for wheat indirectly through a third, "intermediate", commodity: the fruit is exchanged for the intermediate commodity when the fruit ripens. If this intermediate commodity doesn't perish and is reliably in demand throughout the year (e.g. copper, gold, or wine) then it can be exchanged for wheat after the harvest. The function of the intermediate commodity as a store-of-value can be standardized into a widespread commodity money, reducing the coincidence of wants problem. By overcoming the limitations of simple barter, a commodity money makes the market in all other commodities more liquid.

Many cultures around the world eventually developed the use of commodity money. Ancient China, Africa, and India used cowry shells. Trade in Japan's feudal system was based on the koku – a unit of rice per year. The shekel was an ancient unit of weight and currency. The first usage of the term came from Mesopotamia circa 3000 BC and referred to a specific weight of barley, which related other values in a metric such as silver, bronze, copper etc. A barley/shekel was originally both a unit of currency and a unit of weight.[8]

Where ever trade is common, barter systems usually lead quite rapidly to several key goods being imbued with monetary properties[citation needed]. In the early British colony of New South Wales, rum emerged quite soon after settlement as the most monetary of goods. When a nation is without a currency it commonly adopts a foreign currency. In prisons where conventional money is prohibited, it is quite common for cigarettes to take on a monetary quality, and throughout history, gold has taken on this unofficial monetary function.

[edit] Standardized coinage
Greek drachm of Aegina. Obverse: Land turtle / Reverse: ΑΙΓ(INA) and dolphin. The oldest turtle coin dates 700 BC
A 640 BC one-third stater coin from Lydia, shown larger.From early times, metals, where available, have usually been favored for use as proto-money over such commodities as cattle, cowry shells, or salt, because they are at once durable, portable, and easily divisible.[citation needed] The use of gold as proto-money has been traced back to the fourth millennium BC when the Egyptians used gold bars of a set weight as a medium of exchange,[citation needed] as had been done earlier in Mesopotamia with silver bars.[citation needed] The first known ruler who officially set standards of weight and money was Pheidon.[9] The first stamped money (having the mark of some authority in the form of a picture or words) can be seen in the Bibliothèque Nationale of Paris. It is an electrum stater of a turtle coin, coined at Aegina island. This remarkable coin[10] dates about 700 BC.[11] Electrum coins were also introduced about 650 BC in Lydia.[12]

Coinage was widely adopted across Ionia and mainland Greece during the 6th century BC, eventually leading to the Athenian Empire's 5th century BC, dominance of the region through their export of silver coinage, mined in southern Attica at Laurium and Thorikos. A major silver vein discovery at Laurium in 483 BC led to the huge expansion of the Athenian military fleet. Competing coinage standards at the time were maintained by Mytilene and Phokaia using coins of Electrum; Aegina used silver.

It was the discovery of the touchstone which led the way for metal-based commodity money and coinage. Any soft metal can be tested for purity on a touchstone, allowing one to quickly calculate the total content of a particular metal in a lump. Gold is a soft metal, which is also hard to come by, dense, and storable. As a result, monetary gold spread very quickly from Asia Minor, where it first gained wide usage, to the entire world.

A Persian 309–379 AD silver drachm from the Sasanian Dynasty.Using such a system still required several steps and mathematical calculation. The touchstone allows one to estimate the amount of gold in an alloy, which is then multiplied by the weight to find the amount of gold alone in a lump. To make this process easier, the concept of standard coinage was introduced. Coins were pre-weighed and pre-alloyed, so as long as the manufacturer was aware of the origin of the coin, no use of the touchstone was required. Coins were typically minted by governments in a carefully protected process, and then stamped with an emblem that guaranteed the weight and value of the metal. It was, however, extremely common for governments to assert that the value of such money lay in its emblem and thus to subsequently reduce the value of the currency by lowering the content of valuable metal.[citation needed]

Although gold and silver were commonly used to mint coins, other metals could be used. For instance, Ancient Sparta minted coins from iron to discourage its citizens from engaging in foreign trade. In the early seventeenth century Sweden lacked more precious metal and so produced "plate money", which were large slabs of copper approximately 50 cm or more in length and width, appropriately stamped with indications of their value.

Metal based coins had the advantage of carrying their value within the coins themselves — on the other hand, they induced manipulations: the clipping of coins in the attempt to get and recycle the precious metal. A greater problem was the simultaneous co-existence of gold, silver and copper coins in Europe. English and Spanish traders valued gold coins more than silver coins, as many of their neighbors did, with the effect that the English gold-based guinea coin began to rise against the English silver based crown in the 1670s and 1680s. Consequently, silver was ultimately pulled out of England for dubious amounts of gold coming into the country at a rate no other European nation would share. The effect was worsened with Asian traders not sharing the European appreciation of gold altogether — gold left Asia and silver left Europe in quantities European observers like Isaac Newton, Master of the Royal Mint observed with unease.[13]

Stability came into the system with national Banks guaranteeing to change money into gold at a promised rate; it did, however, not come easily. The Bank of England risked a national financial catastrophe in the 1730s when customers demanded their money be changed into gold in a moment of crisis. Eventually London's merchants saved the bank and the nation with financial guarantees.

Another step in the evolution of money was the change from a coin being a unit of weight to being a unit of value. a distinction could be made between its commodity value and its specie value. The difference is these values is seigniorage.[14]

[edit] Trade bills of exchangeBills of exchange became prevalent with the expansion of European trade toward the end of the Middle Ages. A flourishing Italian wholesale trade in cloth, woolen clothing, wine, tin and other commodities was heavily dependent on credit for its rapid expansion. Goods were supplied to a buyer against a bill of exchange, which constituted the buyer's promise to make payment at some specified future date. Provided that the buyer was reputable or the bill was endorsed by a credible guarantor, the seller could then present the bill to a merchant banker and redeem it in money at a discounted value before it actually became due.

These bills could also be used as a form of payment by the seller to make additional purchases from his own suppliers. Thus, the bills – an early form of credit – became both a medium of exchange and a medium for storage of value. Like the loans made by the Egyptian grain banks, this trade credit became a significant source for the creation of new money. In England, bills of exchange became an important form of credit and money during last quarter of the 18th century and the first quarter of the 19th century before banknotes, checks and cash credit lines were widely available.[15]

[edit] TalliesThe acceptance of symbolic forms of money opened up vast new realms for human creativity. A symbol could be used to represent something of value that was available in physical storage somewhere else in space, such as grain in the warehouse. It could also be used to represent something of value that would be available later in time, such as a promissory note or bill of exchange, a document ordering someone to pay a certain sum of money to another on a specific date or when certain conditions have been fulfilled.

In the 12th Century, the English monarchy introduced an early version of the bill of exchange in the form of a notched piece of wood known as a tally stick. Tallies originally came into use at a time when paper was rare and costly, but their use persisted until the early 19th Century, even after paper forms of money had become prevalent. The notches were used to denote various amounts of taxes payable to the crown. Initially tallies were simply used as a form of receipt to the tax payer at the time of rendering his dues. As the revenue department became more efficient, they began issuing tallies to denote a promise of the tax assessee to make future tax payments at specified times during the year. Each tally consisted of a matching pair – one stick was given to the assessee at the time of assessment representing the amount of taxes to be paid later and the other held by the Treasury representing the amount of taxes be collected at a future date.

The Treasury discovered that these tallies could also be used to create money. When the crown had exhausted its current resources, it could use the tally receipts representing future tax payments due to the crown as a form of payment to its own creditors, who in turn could either collect the tax revenue directly from those assessed or use the same tally to pay their own taxes to the government. The tallies could also be sold to other parties in exchange for gold or silver coin at a discount reflecting the length of time remaining until the taxes was due for payment. Thus, the tallies became an accepted medium of exchange for some types of transactions and an accepted medium for store of value. Like the girobanks before it, the Treasury soon realized that it could also issue tallies that were not backed by any specific assessment of taxes. By doing so, the Treasury created new money that was backed by public trust and confidence in the monarchy rather than by specific revenue receipts.[16]

[edit] Goldsmith bankersGoldsmiths in England had been craftsmen, bullion merchants, money changers and money lenders since the 16th century. But they were not the first to act as financial intermediates; in the early 17th century, the scriveners were the first to keep deposits for the express purpose of relending them.[17] Merchants and traders had amassed huge hoards of gold and entrusted their wealth to the Royal Mint for storage. In 1640 King Charles I seized the private gold stored in the mint as a forced loan (which was to be paid back over time). Thereafter merchants preferred to store their gold with the goldsmiths of London, who possessed private vaults, and charged a fee for that service. In exchange for each deposit of precious metal, the goldsmiths issued receipts certifying the quantity and purity of the metal they held as a bailee (i.e. in trust). These receipts could not be assigned (only the original depositor could collect the stored goods). Gradually the goldsmiths took over the function of the scriveners of relending on behalf of a depositor and also developed modern banking practices; promissory notes were issued for money deposited which by custom and/or law was a loan to the goldsmith,[18] i.e. the depositor expressly allowed the goldsmith to use the money for any purpose including advances to his customers. The goldsmith charged no fee, or even paid interest on these deposits. Since the promissory notes were payable on demand, and the advances (loans) to the goldsmith's customers were repayable over a longer time period, this was an early from of fractional reserve banking. The promissory notes developed into an assignable instrument, which could circulate as a safe and convenient form of money backed by the goldsmith's promise to pay.[19] Hence goldsmiths could advance loans in the form of gold money, or in the form of promissory notes, or in the form of checking accounts.[20] Gold deposits were relatively stable, often remaining with the goldsmith for years on end, so there was little risk of default so long as public trust in the goldsmith's integrity and financial soundness was maintained. Thus, the goldsmiths of London became the forerunners of British banking and prominent creators of new money based on credit.

[edit] Demand deposits This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (November 2010)

The primary business of the early merchant banks was promotion of trade. The new class of commercial banks made accepting deposits and issuing loans their principal activity. They lend the money they received on deposit. They created additional money in the form of new bank notes. The money they created was partially backed by gold, silver or other assets and partially backed only by public trust in the institutions that created it.

Demand deposits are funds that are deposited in bank accounts and are available for withdrawal at the discretion of the depositor. The withdrawal of funds from the account does not require contacting or making any type of prior arrangements with the bank or credit union. As long as the account balance is sufficient to cover the amount of the withdrawal, and the withdrawal takes place in accordance with procedures set in place by the financial institution, the funds may be withdrawn on demand

[edit] Banknotes This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (November 2010)

The history of money and banking are inseparably interlinked. The issuance of paper money was initiated by commercial banks. Inspired by the success of the London goldsmiths, some of which became the forerunners of great English banks, banks began issuing paper notes quite properly termed ‘banknotes’ which circulated in the same way that government issued currency circulates today. In England this practice continued up to 1694. Scottish banks continued issuing notes until 1850. In USA, this practice continued through the 19th Century, where at one time there were more than 5000 different types of bank notes issued by various commercial banks in America. Only the notes issued by the largest, most creditworthy banks were widely accepted. The script of smaller, lesser known institutions circulated locally. Farther from home it was only accepted at a discounted rate, if it was accepted at all. The proliferation of types of money went hand in hand with a multiplication in the number of financial institutions.

These banknotes were a form of representative money which could be converted into gold or silver by application at the bank. Since banks issued notes far in excess of the gold and silver they kept on deposit, sudden loss of public confidence in a bank could precipitate mass redemption of banknotes and result in bankruptcy.

The use of bank notes issued by private commercial banks as legal tender has gradually been replaced by the issuance of bank notes authorized and controlled by national governments. The Bank of England was granted sole rights to issue banknotes in England after 1694. In the USA, the Federal Reserve Bank was granted similar rights after its establishment in 1913. Until recently, these government-authorized currencies were forms of representative money, since they were partially backed by gold or silver and were theoretically convertible into gold or silver.

[edit] Gold-backed banknotesThe term gold standard is often erroneously thought to refer to a currency where notes were fully backed by and redeemable in an equivalent amount of gold. The British pound was the strongest, most stable currency of the 19th Century and often considered the closest equivalent to pure gold, yet at the height of the gold standard there was only sufficient gold in the British treasury to redeem a small fraction of the currency then in circulation. In 1880, US government gold stock was equivalent in value to only 16% of currency and demand deposits in commercial banks. By 1970, it was about 0.5%. The gold standard was only a system for exchange of value between national currencies, never an agreement to redeem all paper notes for gold. The classic gold standard prevailed during the period 1880 and 1913 when a core of leading trading nations agreed to adhere to a fixed gold price and continuous convertibility for their currencies. Gold was used to settle accounts between these nations. With the outbreak of World War I, Britain was forced to abandon the gold standard even for their international transactions. Other nations quickly followed suit. After a brief attempt to revive the gold standard during the 1920s, it was finally abandoned by Britain and other leading nations during the Great Depression.

Prior to the abolition of the gold standard, the following words were printed on the face of every US dollar: "I promise to pay the bearer on demand, the sum of one dollar" followed by the signature of the US Secretary of the Treasury. Other denominations carried similar pledges proportionate to the face value of each note. The currencies of other nations bore similar promises too. In earlier times this promise signified that a bearer could redeem currency notes for their equivalent value in gold or silver. The US adopted a silver standard in 1785, meaning that the value of the US dollar represented a certain equivalent weight in silver and could be redeemed in silver coins. But even at its inception, the US Government was not required to maintain silver reserves sufficient to redeem all the notes that it issued. Through much of the 20th Century until 1971, the US dollar was ‘backed’ by gold, but from 1934 only foreign holders of the notes could exchange them for metal.

[edit] Representative money
An example of representative money, this 1896 note could be exchanged for five US Dollars worth of silver.Representative money refers to money that consists of a token or certificate made of paper. The use of the various types of money including representative money, tracks the course of money from the past to the present.[21] Token money may be called "representative money" in the sense that, say, a piece of paper might 'represent' or be a claim on a commodity also.[22] Gold certificates or Silver certificates are a type of representative money[22] which were used in the United States as currency until 1933.

The term 'representative money' has been used in the past "to signify that a certain amount of bullion was stored in a Treasury while the equivalent paper in circulation" represented the bullion.[23] Representative money differs from commodity money which is actually made of some physical commodity. In his Treatise on Money,(1930:7) Keynes distinguished between commodity money and representative money, dividing the latter into "fiat money" and "managed money."[24]

[edit] Fiat moneyFiat money refers to money that is not backed by reserves of another commodity. The money itself is given value by government fiat (Latin for "let it be done") or decree, enforcing legal tender laws, previously known as "forced tender", whereby debtors are legally relieved of the debt if they pay it in the government's money. By law, the refusal of a legal tender (offering) extinguishes the debt in the same way acceptance does.[25] At times in history (e.g. Rome under Diocletian, and post-revolutionary France during the collapse of the assignats) the refusal of legal tender money in favor of some other form of payment was punished with the death penalty.

Governments through history have often switched to forms of fiat money in times of need such as war, sometimes by suspending the service they provided of exchanging their money for gold, and other times by simply printing the money that they needed. When governments produce money more rapidly than economic growth, the money supply overtakes economic value. Therefore, the excess money eventually dilutes the market value of all money issued. This is called inflation. See open market operations.

In 1971 the United States finally switched to fiat money indefinitely. At this point in time many of the economically developed countries' currencies were fixed to the US dollar (see Bretton Woods Conference), and so this single step meant that much of the western world's currencies became fiat money based.

Following the Gulf War the president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, repealed the existing Iraqi fiat currency and replaced it with a new currency. Despite having no backing by a commodity and with no central authority mandating its use or defending its value, the old currency continued to circulate within the politically isolated Kurdish regions of Iraq. It became known as the "Swiss dinar". This currency remained relatively strong and stable for over a decade. It was formally replaced following the Iraq War.

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