Why did human beings create money in the first place? As tribes grew into small villages that eventually evolved in to large cities, we needed to create a medium of exchange that everyone could trust and deal in. Coinage, a universal currency was first used between 2500-3000 years ago and is believed to have originated in the ancient kingdom Lydia, now known as parts of modern Turkey. The first coins were made from a naturally occurring mixture of gold and silver called electrum, stamped with symbols that showed the value.
Now that we had a currency to deal in we could forget our old system of exchange that involved swapping goods – I will give you my mammoth skin if you provide me with a spear and an axe – a pre modern man form of bartering where the items had no set value. We have come along way since then, today according to the universal currency converter there are 168 active currency’s on planet earth, this figure may continue to grow as currency’s such as the Zimbabwean dollar were only created in 2009. We have also managed to create around 60 trillion dollars plus in worldwide wealth.
Is this evolution of money a good thing? Do we really need it?
Human beings only need oxygen, clean water, food, shelter and sleep to survive and live a good life, there are theories that state we could live in a resource based economy that would put an end to money as we know it and make all things accessible. Although possible, these theories seem unattainable in the near future. A quicker and easier fix may be to change our thinking of capitalism, as we know it. Changing the current model of destruction for profit to creation for sustainability, adding value to the world, whilst being more conscious and getting rewarded for it.
It is said that people are 100 times better off now than in the 1800’s, annual income per person has risen dramatically, the average age of death (worldwide) has risen to 65, in 1820 85% of people lived of one dollar a day, now just 17% do, still to large of a percentage however we are on the right path. These statistics would indicate the evolution of money is a good thing, helping us live fuller lives. Although whilst capitalism has its advantages it can also be a destructive force, this really gets brought to life when you think that rainforests once covered 14% of the earth’s surface and now this percentage has decreased to 6%. It is time to implement the idea of a more conscious capitalism in to our business’s, we should be mindful of all our actions when trying to generate wealth, mindful of the environment, our employee’s and escape from the industrial revolution way of thinking in regards to making money. Today us humans are more aware of the consequences of our actions than anytime before here on earth, its time to start taking responsibility.
– If you agree that it is time to start being more conscious whilst we continue to generate wealth then check out Raj Sisodia’s TEDx talk. This talk inspired this piece and few of the facts and figures used in the last paragraph are picked from his brain. Enjoy and learn.