History of Currency?
In the world today, there are hundreds of currencies. Each nation has its currency . Even when such currencies have the same name, there is still a difference between them. One is that they may not be the same in color, and values in those currencies may not be the same. Currencies have undergone various stages of evolution before they result in what is available in the world today. Those various stages of evolution can indeed represent the various stages of human and economic development and evolution .
Whenever one talks of the history of currency, one is at the same time talking about money. This is because there is no way you can talk of currency without talking about money. The two are inseparable, and they represent the same thing. The history of currency is about the history of money because the two are closely intertwined.
When you talk of the history of money , you have to think of the time money started performing the functions of medium of exchange or any of those functions that money is supposed to perform. It is not easy to tell when money was first invented; it was assumed that it started even before man starts to record events. This means that money may have been prehistoric. Because of that, most stories about the origin of money could be conjectural.
It would not be easy to determine any logical sequence about the evolution of any currency. For that reason, also, there could be variations in history as to when and where it started.
Most of the information about currency origin assumes that things were exchanged in the trade by barter form. There is the uniformity of agreement here, but the processes and how that happens may not be the same. Several things were exchanged in the process, and this range from grain to livestock. It extended to those things that were very useful. Later it shifted to certain attractive items ranging from cowrie shells and beads, and so on. Different things were exchanged for more needed commodities. What determines what could be exchanged include individual needs. You have to look for somebody that has the kind of commodity you need. When you agree, then you can exchange what you have. It is not easy to determine when to trade by barter was replaced by a single item with a defined value such as shekel, coin, and so on.
As stated before, there is no historical evidence that can suggest that barter was the main mode of exchange, and it was globally accepted. However, accounts by historians tend to suggest that. It has not been scientifically proven. Money or currency must have evolved from somewhere, and that many historians agree that exchange was the first mode of transactions and that other things evolved from that.
David Graeber, a popular anthropologist, argues that money was developed to take over from the barter system. He also maintained that the problem with that is that there is no documented evidence to back that claim.
The researcher agreed that the gift economy , which barter was part of started as the medium of exchange in the agrarian era. It was also believed that elaborate credit systems must have started from that era. As soon as it became difficult for the gift exchange to be used as a quantifiable obligation, society started to think of other means to quantify exchange in the real value. Later, society started to look for something that can also serve as a store of value. In the gift economy, goods and services were often offered without any form of future or immediate rewards. It means that in the earlier society, there was no form of quid pro quo. However, the exchange then was considered as reciprocal altruism. This means that relationships existed then based on the type of exchange. You can exchange with someone who has value and the need for what you have. There must be the element of reciprocity in all these.