What is “money”?Money is any object or record that is generallyaccepted as payment for goods and servicesand repayment of debts in a given country oreconomy.Money originated as commodity money(money made from something valuable such asgold or silver), but nearly all modern moneysystems are based on fiat money. Fiat money ismoney that has value because everyone agreesthat it does. The term derives from the Latinfiat, meaning "let it be done" or "it shall be[money]", as such money is established bygovernment decree.
Opening Discussion• Do you care about money itself, or do you just like spending it?• Do you often use paper money, or do you prefer to use credit cards and bank cards?• What do you think the world would be like if there was no money?
Bartering Before the invention of money, people traded things they had for things they needed. This was called bartering. •Do you think this is a good way to get the things you need? •If you had to trade things you made for food and clothing, would you have the same job you have now? How would your life be different? •Look at the men in the picture. What are their jobs? What can they do for each other?
Coins and BanknotesThe earliest type of money still in use isthe coin. Coins are small metal disks,originally made of valuable metals.A banknote (often known as a bill) is akind of money made of paper. Usuallycoins are used for lower valued monetaryunits, while banknotes are used for highervalues.When money is made of physical things wecan carry around and trade, like coins andbills, this kind of money is called cash.
Cashless Society The government of Sweden recently announced that they will soon stop making paper money and coins. In the future, people in Sweden will have to use credit cards and debit cards to pay for everything. People in Europe can also use text messages from their mobile phones to make transactions. •If there is no cash, will people still be able to steal from each other? What other crimes might be more difficult? •Do you think your country should get rid of cash?
Gift EconomyA gift economy (or gift culture) is a societywhere valuable goods and services are givenwithout any agreement for immediate orfuture rewards (i.e. something for nothing).Long ago, many societies had a gift economyinstead of one based on bartering or money.For example, many Native Americans wholived in the Pacific Northwest, practiced the“potlatch” ritual, where leaders give awaylarge amounts of goods to their followers,strengthening group relations. By sacrificinghis wealth, a leader gained a position ofhonor.
Reputation Economy Science and technology are changing the world every day. Some people think that in the future machines will be able to make everything we need for free, or almost free. What will people do if they don’t have to work to have food and clothing and shelter? There is a danger that if everything is given to us, we might all become very lazy. A recent idea on how to solve this problem is by creating a public reputation system. For example imagine a world where every time someone did something good for you or made you happy in some way, you could give them points for their reputation score. If everyone could see everyone else’s score people with high scores would be “richer” than other people because everyone would know they are generous and kind.
What do you think?• Could you imagine living in a gift economy? Do you think giving things away would be a better way of life than buying and selling?• Would you want to live in a world with a reputation system? What would be good about it and what would be bad? If you would like to review this English corner, go to www.englishslide.com