The Evolution of Money and The Effect it has on Society
Money is anything that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts (random house dictionary page 1). People often say that money is something we can't live without. This statement is almost true because people have been using different forms of it since people have existed.The idea of money started back with the cavemen. They traded goods with other people for different things that they desired. You may also know this idea as bartering. This theory of Convention of course had a flaw. If you were a hunter and needed new arrows but no one required meat then you would have a hard time getting by. Another problem with this method is that there was no way to tell what an item was worth, which made trade an often unfair exchange. This method also took a great deal of time and a quicker and more efficient method was needed.
Not long after that there was something called commodity money (© 2002-2009 Money Instructor).This money was usually a product in a town that was commonly used. Some of the products that were commonly used were sheep, cows, cloth, and salt. These products were desired greatly but there was another problem. This problem is one that deals with the convenience of the product. Cows and sheep are heavy and not easy to travel with for even a short distance. For any money to be successful the product you use must be convenient to carry with you and must be desired by many people. The path to what type of money system we have today is an amazing thing to think about.
The next form of money that was used is called coinage, or precious metal based money. This is the same idea as commodity money. This form is different than the other because it is metal that the money is made from. The first coin ever made was the Lydian Lion (Cooper G. 2008 p.46). This coin was made out of a gold and silvery alloy. They used a lion's head on the coin to represent the authority that must be possessed to have these coins. Even then there was the idea that money equals authority, happiness, and overall wealth. They used these symbols of power to show that only people with these coins held power and had standing in that particular society (2010 Reid Goldsborough ).
Now we are headed towards the money of today. This form of money is called representative money. The idea is that the money we use is not actually valuable, but represents what you have earned and have. Today all money is made out of factories and is mass produced. Money today is not actually made from paper or any wood material at all. Paper money today is made from 25% cotton and 75% linen. This makes money closer to cloth then to paper. Even though the actual value of the thing itself is not worth anything, we still use money as a tool to separate the people with power and the people without power. We print pictures of inspiring and powerful and people to show the importance of money. The way that this innovation has changed our society is so extreme that it is hard to believe. Making and distributing money is a factor that affects the success of the currency. The money has to be accepted universally so that you can purchase what you want, where you want. The banks will trade currency for the appropriate type that is needed so you can purchase things that are from a different country. Money should also be durable so that it can be used many times without ripping and having to be replaced. Another thing that money has to have is a thing called Value keep. The moneys value as to be fixed because if it was not them one day our money could be worth very little and then you would have nothing.
Money plays such an important role in today's society. It has become such a huge force I everyday life that is nearly impossible to live without it. A great example of an economy failing due to money problems is The Great Depression. Banks failed because bank deposits were unsecured and due to this people lost all of the money in their savings before they could do a thing about it. This tragedy caused millions of citizens to have no money and there for lost their homes and virtually everything. Stores shut down and factories closed their gates due to the depression. The government was having a harder and harder time collecting taxes because people simply had nothing left to give. People of all ages starved and struggled to live due to the loss of this precious paper and metal that seems to hold our society together. This tragedy is one that opens our eyes to the raw facts about our society that lay before us. We are a society that almost totally relies on the banks and the money we earn to keep us alive.
Money does not just affect our physical person, but it affects our mental state almost just as much. Money can have a positive effect in that it can drive a person's will to work harder by giving them that excited feeling from anticipating what they will get from the job well done. Money can cause people to be much more independent and much more apt to rely on themselves. While this is all taking place the work that is being done strengthens the society in a different way. All in all money helps a society grow and prosper.
Just as having money can boost confidence and help a society grow, it can also make a person greedy and unstable. Studies show that people who have a lot of money can become insensitive and less friendly. The idea is that when people are so enveloped in trying to earn money they ignore the feelings and desires of others because they are so wrapped up in their goals. Social classes are the hierarchical arrangements of people in society as economic or cultural groups. Society has created different classes to represent the wealth of people. There is the lower class that has very little money and is almost poor, and then there is the middle class who has enough money to get by but is not in the highest class, which it the rich. These classes keep people striving to get more and more money because we seem to think that money can cause happiness. These groups can cause economic growth and can sometimes turn people to do things that are not moral to attempt to raise their social status. This is one way that money can affect people in a negative way. Just like everything in life it is possible to have too much of a good thing. A great example of this is Martha Stewart. She is one of the wealthiest people there are. In 2001 she was names the third most powerful women in America by Ladies Home Journal. This power only drove her to crave more and more money. She served 5 months in prison because she lied to an investigator about a stock sale.
This goes to show you that money is not always going to make you happy and is not worth breaking the law for. These types of acts have been going on for centuries. “clipping” is not just an offense in football... Before they were made by machines, coins weren't perfectly round. They also didn't have grooved edges. This made it easy for people to shave off pieces of precious metal. After "clipping" a coin this way, people then illegally spent the coin for its original value. Some people were even put to death for this crime in 17th century London (page 1 us mint). I believe that money is a force that distracts us from the important things in life. We work so hard and such long hours that we forget why we are working in the first place. Family and friends and simply having fun is over and over again overshadowed by the desire for money in today's society. Without money our society and everyday life would be totally different.
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