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The Carnival of Twenty Something Finances: Money Through The Ages Edition


Welcome to the Carnival of Twenty Something Finances at AskMrCreditCard.com! If you are new here, please pickup our RSS feed, and check out some of the amazing articles below!

Since the beginning of time human beings have bartered, haggled, gambled, and traded items of value to get what they wanted. I think it’s safe to say that as long as money has been around, we humans have developed a real love / hate relationship with it. Sometimes it serves us, sometimes we serve it. With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to take a look back through the ages.

How did we get where we are today?

Our ancestors of a thousand years ago could scarcely envision a stock market – much less a stock market crash or regular cycles of investing! What steps has humanity taken to bring us to this point?

I’ll show you mine if you’ll show me yours: The Barter System

Prior to 9,000 B.C. all forms of trade were done by bartering. There was no currency, no inflation, no “virtual goods”. Everything was traded at face value, according to what the other person was willing to sacrifice to have it. Today bartering is still a valid and time-tested form of commerce in many countries.

The articles below all encompass that “getting back to basics” feel. Since bartering is the first and last form of trade we have available, these are also my editor’s picks. The end, and the beginning, articles of timeless value.

Animals: The First Standard Currency

Believe it or not cattle, sheep, camels, and other beasts of burden were the first things to be assigned a standard value for trade. Land, possessions, even marriages were bought and sold depending on how many heads of cattle were offered. A little later on, agriculture was added to the mix: bushels of wheat, and occasionally vegetables could also be offered as part of an agreement. This type of trade thrived between 9,000-6,000 B.C.

The articles below all take somewhat complex topics and distill them down to the real “grain of truth”. The bits of wisdom that you can pick up and take away with you – bits of wisdom to help you plant the seeds of your own future and get fair value for it.

She Sells Sea Shells:

In the totally-blow-you-away department, the simple cowrie shell was used as currency from 1200 BC onward. These humble little seashells saw their first use as currency in China, but they have been used as recently as last century in some parts of Africa. Most of us have probably owned a necklace or a bracelet made of these at one point or another. Did you have any idea that people in ages past would have considered something as simple as those necklaces worth a fortune? I know I didn’t!

The articles below all have the element of surprise. A new twist on an old topic; hidden wealth in the internet-ocean of knowledge.

It begins: The first metal coins

The first metal coins were actually cowrie shell reproductions made of bronze or copper.

China began minting them around 1,000 B.C. Over the next 500 years, they gradually evolved into the round “coins” we are familiar with today. These original coins were usually minted with holes in the center so that they could be safely strung together on a chain.

I wonder if this is where the term “chain snatcher” originated? Does anyone know?

The articles below have all taken a simple, natural idea and refined it; minted it into something durable and infinitely usable to suit our purposes today.

“My Precious!”: The first coins made of precious metals, and the early beginnings of the gold standard!

Around 500 B.C. the first coins were minted from lumps of silver, bronze and gold. Lydia (ancient Turkey) Greece, Persia, and eventually the Roman Empire were the first countries to accept this form of currency and make it their standard. These ancient coins were stamped with assorted emperors and gods – probably the first form of trying to prevent counterfeiting!

The articles below are all the “real deal”. They have intrinsic value that goes beyond their time and date stamp. They are minted in the image of their authors, and the knowledge you can gain from them is always a useful currency – measured in more than silver or gold.

We need an easier form of currency! Paper money gets popular:

Paper money was first invented in China around 800 A.D. The Chinese accepted paper as a form of currency for about 500 years, and then it faded into disuse. It wasn’t until about three centuries later that it actually became the most common form of money throughout China and Europe, and it eventually developed into what we recognize as money today.

The articles below all cover some of the more popular financial topics of the day. Like the establishment of paper money, these articles offer fresh and workable ideas which may well spread to become part of tomorrow’s financial foundation.

But What’s a Dollar Really Worth? All Hail The Bank of England!

In 1816 the Bank of England officially made gold the standard that all other values were measured against. They set the official price of gold in order to prevent inflation, and backed their banknotes with a measurable quantity of gold. The United States did the same in 1900.

The articles below are of definite, measurable worth. Many of them are downright innovative; helping to set a new standard for our modern financial difficulties.

*Cough* A Dollar’s Worth What You Say It’s Worth: The End of The Gold Standard

What happened to the gold standard? To put it simply, World War I, The Great Depression, and World War II. It was a one-two-three punch that most countries just couldn’t cope with. It was simply impossible to finance the wars, rebuild everything afterwards, and to recover all the damage to the economy.

The United States officially distanced itself from the gold standard in the 1930’s under Franklin Roosevelt in the hopes of easing the Great Depression.

If Roosevelt took the first steps, it was Richard Nixon that took the last. In 1971 he officially severed the link between our currency and gold reserves by “un-fixing” the price of gold. With the price of gold no longer set, it became impossible to measure the value of our money against the value of gold.

The articles below all deal with the economy, and the changes that our government’s making in an effort to restore it. A whole lot of people disagreed with the government when we moved off of the gold standard, and a whole lot of people disagree with the proposed “economic fixes” we are seeing today. I wonder what history will say about it? Are they right to disagree? Are they wrong? What do you think?

That’s it for the Carnival of Twenty Something Finances! I hope that you have enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it together. There were some truly excellent articles featured here, and I want to personally thank everyone for their submissions. I found some new blogs that I had not visited before, and reacquainted myself with a few blogs that were old friends.

I look forward to talking to you all soon. If you like, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Mr. CC


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