West’s Seizing of Russian Foreign Reserves May Lead to Rise of Commodities as Money

Economist Writing Every Day

Some eighteen months ago, I wrote here on “Money as a Social Construct“. Most civilizations over the millennia have found it expeditious to move from simple, immediate barter of physical objects like cows to some system involving “money”. But what is money? Wikipedia gives the following standard definition:

Money is any object or record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a given socio-economic context or country.Themain functions of money are distinguished as: a medium of exchange; a unit of account; a store of value.

For convenience, the “thing” used as money is best if it is portable and durable and of limited amount. Gold and silver have historically served these purposes. Even though these are physical objects, their actual value in usage (e.g. how much gold does it take to buy a cow) is arbitrary. Its value…

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