What is Money?

Money is the reason that makes the world go around. The economies are based in the trade of cash for goods and services. Economics experts define the concept of money, where it came from and the value it has. These are the many facets of money.

Medium of Exchange

Before the advent of the currency–that is, money, people would trade for the items and services they required. Two people, each with one item that they wanted could sign the agreement of trading.

Early forms of bartering however, lack the flexibility and transferability which makes trading profitable. For example, if a person owns cows, but wants bananas, they have to find someone who has bananas, but also the desire to eat. What happens if a person comes across someone who is looking for meat, but has no bananas and only offers potatoes? To procure meat, the person needs to locate an individual who has bananas, would like potatoes, and so on.


The non-transferability of bartering goods can be tiring complicated, confusing and inefficient. However, that’s not the only problem and even if a person is able to find someone to exchange meat in exchange for bananas, they may not think of a few bananas as worth a whole cow. This kind of trade will require coming to an agreement, and then devising an approach to determine the value of bananas in specific components that belong to the animal.

Commodity currency was the solution to these issues. It is a form of item that is used as a currency. The 17th century and the 18th century, for instance, American colonists used beaver pellets and dried corn for trade. 1 Possessing widely recognized values, these items were used to purchase and sell other items. The items used in trade were characterized by certain traits They were highly sought-after and, consequently, important, yet they were also sturdy transportable, lightweight, and easy to store.


A more advanced form of currency that is considered a commodity is one that is a precious metal like gold. For long periods of time gold was utilized to support paper currency until around 1970. 2 In the instance of the U.S. dollar, for example, this meant foreign governments could use their dollars to convert them into gold at a certain price for gold through an institution like the U.S. Federal Reserve. It’s fascinating that, unlike beaver fur or dried corn (which are used to make food or clothing as well) gold is a precious commodity solely because people like to have it. It’s not necessarily beneficial–you cannot eat it or keep you warm during the night however, the majority of people consider it gorgeous, and they are aware that other people think it’s gorgeous. Thus, gold is something which is valuable. It acts as a physical representation of wealth, based on the how people perceive.

The relationship between gold and money provides an understanding of how money increases its value, as a representation of something worth it.


Impressions are the basis of everything.

The second kind of currency comes in the form of Fiat money is a type of money that doesn’t need backing from the physical commodities. The value of these currencies is determined by demand and supply as well as people’s trust in its worth. Fiat money originated due to the fact that gold is an extremely scarce resource and the rapidly expanding economies could not always extract enough gold to support their currency needs. 3 4 For an economy that is booming the requirement for gold to create value for money is inefficient, particularly when the value of gold is determined by the perceptions of people.


Fiat money becomes the symbol of value to people’s eyes which is the main reason why it is made. A growing economy appears to be able to produce other goods that are worth it to its own economy and to other economies. The more robust an economy is, the better its money will be viewed (and wanted) and in reverse. However, perceptions of the public need to be supported by an economic system that can provide the goods and services that consumers want.

In 1971, for instance in the year 1971, in 1971, the U.S. dollar was taken off the gold standard. This meant that the dollar could no longer be redeemed in gold, and the value of gold could no longer be fixed to any dollar value. 5 This meant it was feasible to create additional paper currencies than gold backing it. the condition of the U.S. economy backed the dollar’s worth. If the economy stagnates in the future, the value of U.S. dollar will drop at a national level due to inflation, and internationally due to currency exchange rates. The collapse of the U.S. economy would plunge the entire world into a darkness, which is why many other countries and institutions are doing their best to prevent this from happening.


Nowadays, the worth of money (not just the dollar but all currencies) is determined solely by its buying power and is determined by the rate of inflation. 6 That is the reason that simply printing new currency will not make a nation richer. The creation of money is an ongoing relationship between tangible objects, our desire to have them and our belief in the value of what we buy. It is important because we want it however, we do so only because it will get us the desired item or service.

What is the best way to measure money?

What exactly is available, and what kind of forms are it taking? Investors and economists ask this question to determine if there is deflation or inflation. The money is classified into three categories to ensure it can be more easily identified to measure:


  • M1 This type of money covers the physical denominations of coins and currencies Demand deposits, such as checking accounts as well as NOW accounts, as well as travelers”checks. This is the smallest of the three and is the one that is used to purchase goods and pay for things (see below for the “active funds” subsection in the section below). 7
  • M2 with wider criteria, this category includes all the money in M1 to all related time deposits, savings account deposits and non-institutional money market funds. This is cash that is easily converted to the form of cash. 8
  • M3 – The largest type of currency, the M3 includes all the money under the term M2. It is a combination of huge time deposits institution money market funds as well as short-term repurchase agreements and other more liquidity assets. 9


When we add the three categories together to get the money supply of a nation which is the sum of all money in an economy.


Active Money

The M1 category encompasses what’s known as active currency, which is the total value of all coins and paper currency that circulate. 7 The amount of active currency fluctuates throughout the year and is also fluctuated weekly, monthly, and even daily. The United States, Federal Reserve Banks issue new currency to Treasury Department. U.S. Treasury Department. 10 Banks lend money to their customers. This money is considered active money when it’s circulated.

The fluctuating demand for cash is an ever-changing active money total. For instance, many people cash their paychecks or use ATMs on weekends and so there’s more cash in circulation when it’s a weekday than Friday. Cash demand among people is lower at certain times, following the Christmas season in December as an example. 11


How is Money Made

We’ve discussed the reasons and how money, which is a representation of value made in the economic system However, another crucial aspect in the context of the economy and money is the way a nation’s central bank (the central bank of the United States is the Federal Reserve or the Fed) can influence and alter the quantity of money available.


If the Fed is looking to increase the amount money that is in circulation, perhaps to spur economic activity The central bank could surely print it. But, the physical bills constitute just a tiny fraction of the total amount of money.

Another option for the central bank to expand the amount of money it has available is to purchase government fixed-income securities that are available on the market. If the central bank purchases these securities from the government they put money into the market, and ultimately directly into the hands public. What does a central bank, such as the Fed make money for this? It’s not as difficult as it seems it is that the central bank creates the money and then transfers it to the sellers of security. 12 Alternatively it is possible that the Fed may reduce prices of interest permitting banks to offer credit or loans at a low cost–a process called cheap money. It also encourages people and businesses to borrow and spend.


To reduce the amount of money available or perhaps to lessen inflation in the first place, the central bank does the opposite by selling government securities. The money the buyer gives the central bank basically removed from circulation. Remember that we are merely generalizing this instance to simplify things.

Keep in mind that as the people are able to believe to the money, the central bank could issue more. However, when the Fed issues excessive amounts of money, the value will decrease just like everything else with a greater supply than demand. Thus the central bank is unable to just print money the way it likes.


History of American Money History of American Money

Currency Wars

The 17th century was a time when Great Britain was determined to maintain control over both the American colonies as well as the natural resources that they were in charge of. To achieve this they British restricted the supply of money and banned colonies to issue coins that were their own. Instead, colonies were required to exchange trade with English bill of exchange which could only be exchanged for English products. Colonists were compensated for their goods using the same bills which effectively cut them out of trading with other nations.

The colonies returned to a bartering system that included ammunition tobacco, nails, tobacco pellets, and any other item you could exchange. Colonists also collected any foreign currency they could find and the most well-known was the huge sterling Spanish dollars. These were known as”pieces of eight” because they were a necessity when you needed to change money it was easy to pull out your knife and cut the coin into eight pieces. We can derive the phrase “two bits” that is a quarter the value of a dollars. 13


Massachusetts Money

Massachusetts was among the first state to stand up against the country of its birth. It was in 1652 that the Massachusetts state created the state’s own coinage of silver which included those of the Oak Tree and Pine Tree shillings. The state evaded the British law that stipulated it was only monarchs of the British empire could issue coins, and they did this by dating the coins from 1652, which was a time when the monarch was not in place. It was in 1690 that Massachusetts introduced the very first printed money , known as the bills of credit.

Conflicts among America and Britain were growing through the time the Revolutionary War broke out in 1775. The colonial leaders declared their independence and instituted the currency known as Continentals to pay for their part of the conflict. The problem was that each government printed the amount of money they needed, without linking it with any currency or standard, and so the Continentals saw an explosion in inflation and eventually were eventually useless. This setback discouraged from the American administration from using paper currency for more than 100 years. 13


The aftermath of the Revolution

The chaos that erupted from the Revolutionary War left the new currency system of the nation a total destruction. The majority of the currencies used in the newly-formed United States of America were not functional. The issue was not resolved for 13 years after, in 1788, when Congress was given constitutional power to issue money and determine its price. Congress created a national monetary system and introduced an dollar to serve as the primary instrument of currency. 14 There was also a bimetallic standard meaning that gold and silver could be evaluated in and used to back paper dollars.

It took a long time to take all foreign currencies as well as those competing with state currencies removed from circulation. Bank notes were circulated all the time, but since they issued more coins than could cover with coins These notes were frequently traded at a lower value than the its face price. 16


In the end afterward, eventually, the United States was ready to attempt to use paper money once more. In the early 1860s in the 1860s, the U.S. government created more than $400 million of legal tender to fund its war against the Confederacy during the American Civil War. They were known as greenbacks due to their backs being covered in green. The government backed this currency and declared that they could use it to repay the public and private debts. However, the value did fluctuate based on the success or failure of the North at various stages of the conflict.

The aftermath from the Civil War

In February 1863 The U.S. Congress passed the National Bank Act. The act created an monetary system in which national banks issued notes that were backed with U.S. government bonds. In 1886, the U.S. Treasury then worked to remove state bank notes from circulation to ensure that the bank notes issued by the national banks became the sole money. 18




In the period of reconstruction there was some debate on what was a bimetallic test. Some advocates advocated for using only silver to support the dollar while others favored gold. The problem was solved in the year 1900, after The Gold Standard Act was adopted, which made gold the sole currency backing the dollar. This meant that theoretically, you could have your cash and swap it for the equivalent worth in gold. In 1913 the Federal Reserve was created and granted the power to direct the economy through controlling the amount of money available and the interest rates for loans.

The Bottom Line

The way we use money has drastically changed from the time of skins and shells however its primary function remains the same. No matter what shape it takes, money provides us with a means to exchange of goods and services and helps the economy grow because transactions can be executed with greater speed.

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