hard to imagine our world without money, isn't it? A long
time ago there were no coins. There was no such thing as
money. Before money was invented people had to get their
food, clothing and other needs by trading things. There
is a special name for this kind of trading. The name is
barter. The word barter comes from a French word, barater,
which means "to trade." When you swap baseball
cards with a friend or trade your chocolate pudding for
a cookie at lunchtime you are bartering because you are
exchanging something you have for something you want.
traded some of the things they didn't need for things
they wanted or needed. Even then people had different
jobs and skills. Some people were good hunters, some
were better farmers than others, some people made beautiful
clay pots, some were skilled carpenters, and so on.
There were many different ways in which these people
bartered, or traded, for things they needed.
good hunter might trade 10 rabbits to the carpenter for
the carpenter's promise to fix his roof. The farmer might
trade a fat pig to the potter for pots to cook in. A goat
might be traded for some tools. Perhaps the shoemaker would
trade a pair of shoes for sacks of grain that his wife could
make bread from.
of the time, bartering was a good way of getting things.
But sometimes there were problems. What happened when you
had something to trade but nobody wanted it? What happened
when the traders couldn't agree on what was a fair trade?
People had to agree as to how many eggs would equal a sack
of grain or how many fish were enough to trade for a pot.
What if you had something to trade that almost everybody
wanted? Then it was easy to make a trade! So people began
to use certain objects as money.