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Money Talks

Money Talks
Whether your wish list includes a luxurious hour indulging at the local spa or a weekend getaway to some exotic destination, money is necessary for making most dreams take flight. As the popular expression says, “Money makes the world go ’round.”

Money, as many people know it today, comes in the form of banknotes, coins, credit cards, and even Bitcoin--a digital currency that can be traded with vendors who accept this method of payment. Unlike other currencies, Bitcoin isn’t backed by any country’s central bank or government.

Before many of these modern currencies were used to pay for goods and services, or widely accepted as a form of payment on debts, barter was used as a form of exchange. Pre-dating the use of money, a form of economic exchange was used by the Incan people, who also used collective labor as the base for economic productivity.

Other items in history once deemed valuable enough to be used as currency included cattle, cereal grain, and precious metals, which were used to make early coins. However, cowry shells were used before these other forms of currency. According to PBS in 1200 B.C., cowry, which are the shells of a mollusks found in the waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, were used as currency. The most widely and longest used currency in history, it’s been used by many societies.

Tools and weapons were also used as currency. According to Investopedia the Chinese moved away from using actual tools and weapons to miniature replicas of the tools, which were cast in bronze. Over time, they abandoned these tiny daggers, spades, and hoes for the less sharp and hazardous shape of a circle, thus becoming some of the first coins.
On the island of Yap in the Pacific, the native people used enormous stone disks as currency. Reserved for large expenses such as dowries, the disks didn’t physically change hands. The disks would be placed somewhere in town and would occasionally be assigned new owners.

Another form of currency was salt. In fact, the word salary was derived from the word salt. Highly valued in ancient times, its production was restricted. Since this made salt highly valuable, it was used as a method of trade and currency. During the War of 1812, salt was used to pay soldiers.

 Let’s move on to the paper banknotes that we’re familiar with today. According to, nearly 700 years before Sweden issued the first European banknotes in 1661, China released the first generally circulating currency. Usage of paper notes dates back even earlier to the 7th century Tang Dynasty.

Today, we have many types of widely used digital currencies. For more on money matters, read Random Reminiscences of Men and Events by oil industry magnate John D. Rockefeller; Life of John Jacob Astor: To Which Is Appended a Copy of His Last Will by James Parton; and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

By Regina Molaro

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