Commodity Money - Explained
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What is Commodity Money?
Commodity money is that has value because it is made of a particular commodity that has value itself. In other words, commodity money is the same a valuable object (an object with intrinsic value) in addition to the value it has in an exchange.
Examples of commodities that have been commodity money include: precious metals (gold, silver, platinum, copper), spices (salt, pepper), tea, leather, shells, cigarettes, silk, candy, nails, etc.
Money has taken a wide variety of forms in different cultures. People have used gold, silver, cowrie shells, cigarettes, and even cocoa beans as money. Although we use these items as commodity money, they also have a value from use as something other than money. For example, people have used gold throughout the ages as money although today we do not use it as money but rather value it for its other attributes. Gold is a good conductor of electricity and the electronics and aerospace industry use it. Other industries use gold too, such as to manufacture 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 creating 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 commodities held at a bank. During much of its history, gold and silver backed the money supply in the United States. Interestingly, antique dollars dated as late as 1957, have “Silver Certificate” printed over the portrait of George Washington
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