The evolution of today's money
What is money? We all use it, from a very young age, throughout our lives. Yet we rarely think about what the concept means, and even less about its origins and evolution.
Before it existed, barter was the basis of trade, and through it the economy. When two individuals met and each needed something of value that the other possessed, they would get what they wanted through an exchange arrangement.
However, these so-called barter transactions soon faced a fundamental problem. Suppose you have bananas and want to buy meat. In this case we don't just need to find someone who has meat, we need someone who has meat and wants to get bananas.
What if you meet someone who wants bananas but only owns spices? In this case, they first need to find someone who has meat and happens to want spices. First you need to make an exchange agreement with them, and if that goes well, you can come back to us to exchange bananas for meat.
For example, if you are breeding cows and you need apples, it may not be easy to determine exactly how many cows to give in exchange for how many apples.
The apple is divisible, but the cow is not divisible at all, which is the problem of divisibility. These two problems cried out for a solution, and people quickly invented commodity coins. They simply chose one of the many commodities and values, and that became the early money.
It could be almost anything, but it had to meet a few criteria. First, it had to be something that everyone needed, preferably as often as possible. It is easy to see that the axe is not suitable as a commodity, as it is used by many people, but it is important for the work of woodcutters to have it handy at all times.
Not to mention that another important feature of a commodity currency is that it should be relatively easy to move. This should mean that it should not be very heavy. Yet you can't go home with dozens of tables at the end of a successful trading day. The first American settlers, for example, used beaver pelts as a store of goods, which everyone needed in the harsh weather, and which were easy to move and store. So, in summary, commodity coins had to meet these conditions:
Everybody needs it
Easy to move (relatively light weight)
Easy to store
Relatively difficult to access
Another and very important example of commodity money is gold. Gold is also special in the history of money because it has almost no utility, it cannot be eaten, it does not keep you warm, it has a role in modern industry in certain technologies, but this was far from being the case when we started using it.
It was used for centuries by mankind as commodity money, and later as the underlying value of paper money (until the 1970s) because we see it as beautiful, we know that others find it beautiful, and it is faith that gives it its value. Of course, it has another very important property, namely that it is difficult to obtain, rare and therefore available in limited quantities.
If anyone can easily get their hands on a commodity, they are unfit for purpose.
Ezek mögött nincs egy áru, ami az értéküket adná. Azért jelentek meg, mert a gyorsan növekvő gazdaságokban fenntarthatatlan volt aranykitermeléssel értéket helyezni a pénz mögé. A kereslet, kínálat és az emberek beléjük vetett bizalma, hite adja az értéküket.
Egy fiat pénz, például a dollár az áruk értékének mércéjét jelenti az emberek szemében. Egyúttal egy fiat pénz értéke mindenkor összefüggésben van egy adott gazdaság teljesítményével. Ha egy gazdaság növekszik, olyan árukat termel, melyekre az embereknek a helyi és más gazdaságokban szüksége van, akkor a helyi pénz értéke is növekedni fog, és ez fordítva is igaz.
Nagyon fontos azonban, hogy valós, "kézzelfogható", eladható árukat kell termelnie egy gazdaságnak ahhoz, hogy a pénze stabil legyen és az értéke még növekedjen is.