Many items have been used as commodity money such as naturally scarce precious metals, conch shells, barley, beads, etc., as well as many other things that are thought of as having value. Commodity money value comes from the commodity out of which it is made. The commodity itself constitutes the money, and the money is the commodity.
Examples of commodities that have been used as mediums of exchange include gold, silver, copper, rice, Wampum, salt, peppercorns, large stones, decorated belts, shells, alcohol, cigarettes, cannabis, candy, etc. These items were sometimes used in a metric of perceived value in conjunction with one another, in various commodity valuation or price systemeconomies. The use of commodity money is similar to barter, but a commodity money provides a simple and automatic unit of account for the commodity which is being used as money. Although some gold coins such as the Krugerrand are considered legal tender, there is no record of their face value on either side of the coin. The rationale for this is that emphasis is laid on their direct link to the prevailing value of their fine gold content. American Eagles are imprinted with their gold content and legal tender face value.
In 1875, the British economist William Stanley Jevons described the money used at the time as "representative money". Representative money is money that consists of token coins, paper money or other physical tokens such as certificates, that can be reliably exchanged for a fixed quantity of a commodity such as gold or silver. The value of representative money stands in direct and fixed relation to the commodity that backs it, while not itself being composed of that commodity.
Fiat money or fiat currency is money whose value is not derived from any intrinsic value or guarantee that it can be converted into a valuable commodity (such as gold). Instead, it has value only by government order (fiat). Usually, the government declares the fiat currency (typically notes and coins from a central bank, such as the Federal Reserve System in the U.S.) to be legal tender, making it unlawful not to accept the fiat currency as a means of repayment for all debts, public and private.
Some bullion coins such as the Australian Gold Nugget and American Eagle are legal tender, however, they trade based on the market priceof the metal content as a commodity, rather than their legal tender face value (which is usually only a small fraction of their bullion value).
Fiat money, if physically represented in the form of currency (paper or coins), can be accidentally damaged or destroyed. However, fiat money has an advantage over representative or commodity money, in that the same laws that created the money can also define rules for its replacement in case of damage or destruction. For example, the U.S. government will replace mutilated Federal Reserve Notes (U.S. fiat money) if at least half of the physical note can be reconstructed, or if it can be otherwise proven to have been destroyed.
By contrast, commodity money that has been lost or destroyed cannot be recovered.
These factors led to the shift of the store of value being the metal itself: at first silver, then both silver and gold, and at one point there was bronze as well. Now we have copper coins and other non-precious metals as coins. Metals were mined, weighed, and stamped into coins. This was to assure the individual taking the coin that he was getting a certain known weight of precious metal. Coins could be counterfeited, but they also created a new unit of account, which helped lead to banking.
Archimedes' principle provided the next link: coins could now be easily tested for their fineweight of the metal, and thus the value of a coin could be determined, even if it had been shaved, debased or otherwise tampered with (see Numismatics).
In most major economies using coinage, copper, silver, and gold formed three tiers of coins. Gold coins were used for large purchases, payment of the military, and backing of state activities. Silver coins were used for midsized transactions, and as a unit of account for taxes, dues, contracts, and fealty, while copper coins represented the coinage of common transaction. This system had been used in ancient India since the time of the Mahajanapadas. In Europe, this system worked through the medieval period because there was virtually no new gold, silver, or copper introduced through mining or conquest. Thus the overall ratios of the three coinages remained roughly equivalent.
In premodern China, the need for credit and for circulating a medium that was less of a burden than exchanging thousands of copper coins led to the introduction of paper money, commonly known today as "banknote"s. This economic phenomenon was a slow and gradual process that took place from the late Tang dynasty(618–907) into the Song dynasty (960–1279). It began as a means for merchants to exchange heavy coinage for receipts of deposit issued as promissory notes from shops of wholesalers, notes that were valid for temporary use in a small regional territory. In the 10th century, the Song dynasty government began circulating these notes amongst the traders in their monopolized salt industry. The Song government granted several shops the sole right to issue banknotes, and in the early 12th century the government finally took over these shops to produce state-issued currency. Yet the banknotes issued were still regionally valid and temporary; it was not until the mid 13th century that a standard and uniform government issue of paper money was made into an acceptable nationwide currency. The already widespread methods of woodblock printing and then Pi Sheng's movable typeprinting by the 11th century was the impetus for the massive production of paper money in premodern China.
At around the same time in the medieval Islamic world, a vigorous monetary economywas created during the 7th–12th centuries on the basis of the expanding levels of circulation of a stable high-value currency (the dinar). Innovations introduced by economists, traders and merchants of the Muslim world include the earliest uses of credit, cheques, savings accounts, transactional accounts, loaning, trusts, exchange rates, the transfer of credit and debt, and banking institutions for loans and deposits. need quotation to verify .In Europe, paper money was first introduced in Sweden in 1661. Sweden was rich in copper, thus, because of copper's low value, extraordinarily big coins (often weighing several kilograms) had to be made. The advantages of paper currency were numerous: it reduced transport of gold and silver, and thus lowered the risks; it made loaning gold or silver at interest easier since the specie (gold or silver) never left the possession of the lender until someone else redeemed the note; it allowed for a division of currency into credit and specie backed forms. It enabled the sale of stock in joint stock companies, and the redemption of those shares in the paper.
However, these advantages are held within their disadvantages. First, since a note has no intrinsic value, there was nothing to stop issuing authorities from printing more of it than they had specie to back it with. Second, because it increased the money supply, it increased inflationary pressures, a fact observed by David Hume in the 18th century.
The result is that paper money would often lead to an inflationary bubble, which could collapse if people began demanding hard money, causing the demand for paper notes to fall to zero. The printing of paper money was also associated with wars, and financing of wars, and therefore regarded as part of maintaining a standing army. For these reasons, paper currency was held in suspicion and hostility in Europe and America. It was also addictive since the speculative profits of trade and capital creation were quite large. Major nations established mints to print money and mint coins, and branches of their treasury to collect taxes and hold gold and silver stock.
At this time both silver and gold were considered legal tender, and accepted by governments for taxes. However, the instability in the ratio between the two grew over the 19th century, with the increase both in the supply of these metals, particularly silver, and of trade. This is called bimetallism and the attempt to create a bimetallic standard where both gold and silver backed currency remained in circulation occupied the efforts of inflationists. Governments at this point could use currency as an instrument of policy, printing paper currency such as the United States greenback, to pay for military expenditures. They could also set the terms at which they would redeem notes for specie, by limiting the amount of purchase, or the minimum amount that could be redeemed.
By 1900, most of the industrializing nations were on some form of a gold standard, with paper notes and silver coins constituting the circulating medium. Private banks and governments across the world followed Gresham's law: keeping gold and silver paid but paying out in notes. This did not happen all around the world at the same time, but occurred sporadically, generally in times of war or financial crisis, beginning in the early part of the 20th century and continuing across the world until the late 20th century, when the regime of floating fiat currencies came into force. One of the last countries to break away from the gold standard was the United States in 1971.
No country anywhere in the world today has an enforceable gold standard or silver standardcurrency system.
Commercial bank money or demand depositsare claims against financial institutions that can be used for the purchase of goods and services. A demand deposit account is an account from which funds can be withdrawn at any time by check or cash withdrawal without giving the bank or financial institution any prior notice. Banks have the legal obligation to return funds held in demand deposits immediately upon demand (or 'at call'). Demand deposit withdrawals can be performed in person, via checks or bank drafts, using automatic teller machines (ATMs), or through online banking.
Commercial bank money is created through fractional-reserve banking, the banking practise where banks keep only a fraction of their deposits in reserve (as cash and other highly liquid assets) and lend out the remainder, while maintaining the simultaneous obligation to redeem all these deposits upon demand. page needed Commercial bank money differs from commodity and fiat money in two ways: firstly it is non-physical, as its existence is only reflected in the account ledgers of banks and other financial institutions, and secondly, there is some element of risk that the claim will not be fulfilled if the financial institution becomes insolvent. The process of fractional-reserve banking has a cumulative effect of money creation by commercial banks, as it expands the money supply (cash and demand deposits) beyond what it would otherwise be. Because of the prevalence of fractional reserve banking, the broad money supply of most countries is a multiple (greater than 1) of the amount of base money created by the country's central bank. That multiple (called the money multiplier) is determined by the reserve requirement or other financial ratio requirements imposed by financial regulators.
The money supply of a country is usually held to be the total amount of currency in circulation plus the total value of checking and savings deposits in the commercial banks in the country. In modern economies, relatively little of the money supply is in physical currency. For example, in December 2010 in the U.S., of the $8853.4 billion in broad money supply (M2), only $915.7 billion (about 10%) consisted of physical coins and paper money.
The money supply of a country consists of currency (banknotes and coins) and, depending on the particular definition used, one or more types of bank money (the balances held in checking accounts, savings accounts, and other types of bank accounts). Bank money, which consists only of records (mostly computerized in modern banking), forms by far the largest part of broad money in developed countries
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