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Third, money serves as a unit of account    , which means that it is the ruler by which other values are measured. For example, an accountant may charge $100 to file your tax return. That $100 can purchase two pair of shoes at $50 a pair. Money acts as a common denominator, an accounting method that simplifies thinking about trade-offs.

Finally, another function of money is that money must serve as a standard of deferred payment    . This means that if money is usable today to make purchases, it must also be acceptable to make purchases today that will be paid in the future . Loans and future agreements are stated in monetary terms and the standard of deferred payment is what allows us to buy goods and services today and pay in the future. So money    serves all of these functions— it is a medium of exchange, store of value, unit of account, and standard of deferred payment.

Commodity versus fiat money

Money has taken a wide variety of forms in different cultures. Gold, silver, cowrie shells, cigarettes, and even cocoa beans have been used as money. Although these items are used as commodity money    , they also have a value from use as something other than money. Gold, for example, has been used throughout the ages as money although today it is not used as money but rather is valued for its other attributes. Gold is a good conductor of electricity and is used in the electronics and aerospace industry. Gold is also used in the manufacturing of energy efficient reflective glass for skyscrapers and is used in the medical industry as well. Of course, gold also has value because of its beauty and malleability in the creation of jewelry.

As commodity money, gold has historically served its purpose as a medium of exchange, a store of value, and as a unit of account. Commodity-backed currencies are dollar bills or other currencies with values backed up by gold or other commodity held at a bank. During much of its history, the money supply in the United States was backed by gold and silver. Interestingly, antique dollars dated as late as 1957, have “Silver Certificate” printed over the portrait of George Washington, as shown in [link] . This meant that the holder could take the bill to the appropriate bank and exchange it for a dollar’s worth of silver.

A silver certificate and a modern u.s. bill

Two images are shown. The bottom image is a silver certificate—U.S. paper currency from 1957 or earlier. The top image is of a modern U.S. currency which no longer indicates that it is commodity-backed, but which is still legal tender for all debts.
Until 1958, silver certificates were commodity-backed money—backed by silver, as indicated by the words “Silver Certificate” printed on the bill. Today, U.S. bills are backed by the Federal Reserve, but as fiat money. (Credit: “The.Comedian”/Flickr Creative Commons)

As economies grew and became more global in nature, the use of commodity monies became more cumbersome. Countries moved towards the use of fiat money    . Fiat money has no intrinsic value, but is declared by a government to be the legal tender of a country. The United States’ paper money, for example, carries the statement: “THIS NOTE IS LEGAL TENDER FOR ALL DEBTS, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE.” In other words, by government decree, if you owe a debt, then legally speaking, you can pay that debt with the U.S. currency, even though it is not backed by a commodity. The only backing of our money is universal faith and trust that the currency has value, and nothing more.

Watch this video on the “History of Money.”

Key concepts and summary

Money is what people in a society regularly use when purchasing or selling goods and services. If money were not available, people would need to barter with each other, meaning that each person would need to identify others with whom they have a double coincidence of wants—that is, each party has a specific good or service that the other desires. Money serves several functions: a medium of exchange, a unit of account, a store of value, and a standard of deferred payment. There are two types of money: commodity money, which is an item used as money, but which also has value from its use as something other than money; and fiat money, which has no intrinsic value, but is declared by a government to be the legal tender of a country.

References

Hogendorn, Jan and Marion Johnson. The Shell Money of the Slave Trade . Cambridge University Press, 2003. 6.

Questions & Answers

List and explain four factors of production
Vuyo Reply
capital labour entrepreneur natural resources
Thembi
What is supply
Ogodo Reply
when the supply decreases demand also decreases
Thembi
types of demand and the explanation
akin Reply
what is demand
akin Reply
other things remaining same if demend is increases supply is also decrease and if demend is decrease supply is also increases is called the demand
Mian
if the demand increase supply also increases
Thembi
you are wrong this is the law of demand and not the definition
Tarasum
Demand is the willingness of buy and ability to buy in a specific time period in specific place. Mian you are saying law of demand but not in proper way. you have to keep studying more. because its very basic things in Economics.
Hamza
what is commercialization?
Doris Reply
How to talk loan for bank?
Alfred Reply
what is the meaning of gpa?
Ritisha Reply
Answer: GPA stands for Grade Point Average. It is a standard way of measuring academic achievement in the U.S. Basically, it goes as follows: Each course is given a certain number of "units" or "credits", depending on the content of the course.
Yusuf
what is small and Microbuisenes
tadesse Reply
What is fiscal policy
Dansofo
Who is the funder of Economic
Dansofo
founder , that is Adam Smith
Daniel
what is model
Daniel Reply
The wealth of Nations
Yusuf Reply
the wealth of nations, is it the first?
Umar
Yes very sure it was released in 1759
Yusuf
thank you Yusuf.
Umar
then when did he died?
Umar
17 July 1790 Born: 16 June 1723, Kirkcaldy, United Kingdom Place of death: Panmure House, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Yusuf
1790
Yusuf
that's my today questions, thank you Yusuf it's bed time see u after.
Umar
what is fiscal policy
kemigisha Reply
what's mode?
Umar Reply
mode is the highest occurring frequency in a distribution
Bola
mode is the most commonly occurring item in a set of data.
Umar
Please, what is the difference between monopoly and monopsony?
Olaleye Reply
is there monopsony word?
Umar
I have no idea though
Umar
please, in which year Adam smith was born?
Umar
monopsony is when there's only one buyer while monopoly is when there's only one producer.
Bola
who have idea on Banter
Ibrahim
like trade by barter?
Bola
Monopoly is when there's excessively one seller and there is no entry in the market while monopsony is when there is one buyer
kemigisha
Adam smith was born in 1723
Bola
 (uncountable) Good humoured, playful, typically spontaneous conversation. verb (intransitive) To engage in banter or playful conversation. (intransitive) To play or do something amusing. (transitive) To tease mildly.
Umar
which book Adam smith published first? the first book of Adam smith pls.
Umar
wealth on nation, 1776
Daniel
what is market power and how can it affect an economy?
Gab Reply
market power:- where a firm is said to be a price setter.market power benefits the powerful at the expense of others.
Umar
Market power refers to the ability of a firm (or group of firms) to raise and maintain price above the level that would prevail under competition is referred to as market or monopoly power. The exercise of market power leads to reduced output and loss of economic welfare
Kartheek
find information about the national budget
Molahlegi
three branches of economics in which tourism is likely to figure
Makgotso Reply
What are those three branches?
IlRegno
Equilibrium price is a stable price and it must stay.discuss
Elvis Reply
Card 14 / 21: What are the similarities between a consumer’s budget constraint and society’s production possibilities frontier, not just graphically but analytically?
Ali Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of macroeconomics for ap® courses. OpenStax CNX. Aug 24, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11864/1.2
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