Paper Money

Money, From Cattle to Computer Bits

You would think to hear what; economists, bankers, college professors and even the person on the street, have to say about money that the current financial institutions in the US and the world have been with us for an eternity and are set in solid titanium. But the current central banking system (in the US that is the Federal Reserve) and even the current banknotes (Federal Reserve Notes in the US) have existed and been in use for just over one generation, at least in the US. Money has always changed, adapted and evolved over the course of history and not always for the benefit of greater humanity.

A lot of the most useful inventions in the world can be traced back to a single person or culture but money always seems to spring up in all societies unconnected from each other. The American Indians had Wampum, West Africans had bright shinny things called Mamillas, Fijians used whales teeth (some even in use today), Lincoln had his Greenbacks and of course there was always cattle and stones.

Money is essential to enabling private business, so much more so today when private business is global. But who owns the right to the money in use today. There is no patent on money, no secret. Print some numbers on paper and call it money. If everyone agrees then it gets used. There are laws that say what should be used and can be used for certain transactions but laws change and have changed quite often throughout history. In fact it doesn't make one gram of difference what a government says about the money it wants you to use, once you and the rest of the population lose confidence in the color of the paper a different currency will appear as if by magic. Lose confidence in a banknote and people will use; food, precious metals, energy and of course the good old standby sex.

The following history of money while not complete is irreverent.

9000 BC >

Intro  |  9000BC-405BC  |  390BC-337AD  |  806-1275  |  1504-1681  |  1664-1762  |  1764-1776  |  1780-1834  |  1862-1890  |  1930-1933  |  1995-2000