2When the World Becomes Your Village…

When early humans started trading, there were obvious issues with the barter system that led to the creation of money as we know it.

Take the example of a farmer who rears chickens and wants to make a trade for a cow. If there are no cow farmers in his village, the chicken farmer would have to travel to a marketplace with all his chickens in tow and try to find a cow farmer willing to make an agreeable trade – the price has to be right for the deal to happen, 10 chickens for one cow, let's say. What if the cow farmer wants 12 chickens and all the chicken farmer has are 10 chickens, although the chicken farmer knows he'll have another 10 chickens in four months when his newly hatched chicks mature? Wouldn't it all be easier if everyone had something portable with value and demand attached to it, that they could use to trade?

And so money was invented to get us out of the complications of barter, but it led to other problems.

Our ancestors started using rare shells to trade as that was thought to be something of stable value and in high demand at the time. In West Africa, shell money was used all the way until the mid‐nineteenth century.

However, what is considered as a valuable form of currency today might be worthless tomorrow.

Gold, silver, and other precious metals were popular at various periods throughout history as they could be melted and repurposed. Both precious metals and rare shells had a wide range of uses, from ornamental to ...

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