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Task 1. Read and translate the text

The cash we use every day is something we take for granted but for thousands of years people traded without it. Before money was invented people used a system called bartering. Bartering is simply swapping one good for another. Imagine that you have milk, for example, and you want eggs. You simply find someone who has eggs and wants milk – and you swap. However, you can see that this isn’t a very convenient way to trade.

First of all, you can’t be sure that anyone will want what you’ve got to offer. You have to hope that you’ll be lucky and find someone who has what you want and that he or she wants what you’ve got. The second problem with bartering is that many goods don’t hold their value. For example, you can’t keep your milk for a few months and then barter it. Nobody will want it.

After some time people realized that some goods held their value and were easy to carry around and to trade with. Examples were metals like copper, bronze and gold and other useful goods like salt. These are examples of commodity money.

With commodity money the thing used for buying goods has inherent value. For example, gold has inherent value because it is rare, beautiful and useful. Salt has inherent value because it makes food tasty. If you could buy things with a bag of salt, it meant you could keep a store of salt and buy things anytime you needed them. In other words, commodity money can store value.

Using commodity money was much more convenient than ordinary bartering but it still had drawbacks. One of these drawbacks is that commodity money often lacks liquidity. Liquidity refers to how easily money can circulate. There is obviously a limit to how much salt you can carry around. There’s another problem with commodity money: not everyone may agree on the value of the commodity which is used as money. If you live by the sea, salt may not be so valuable to you. Money needs to be a good unit of account. In other words, everyone should know and agree on the value of a unit. This way, money can be used to measure the value of other things.

The solution is to create a kind of money that does not have any real intrinsic value but that represents value. This is called fiat money. The coins and notes that we use today are an example of fiat money. Notes don’t have any inherent value – they are just paper. However, everyone agrees that they are worth something. More importantly, their value is guaranteed by the government. This is the reason why pounds and dollars and the world’s other currency have value.

Task 2. Complete the table with information from the text.

Examples Advantages Disadvantages

Bartering swapping eggs for milk simple to understand not (1)____ way to trade foods don’t (2)_______
Commodity money (3)_________ and (4)____________ allows you to store (5)____________ not (6)______ agrees on its value lack of liquidity means money can’t (7)____ easily
Fiat Money (8)__________ and (9)__________ value is (10) ______ by the government  

Task 3. Choose the correct word or phrase.

  1. One reason why people buy goods is because it (holds its value/is taken for granted).
  2. When we buy things, we (swap/represent) money for goods.
  3. Diamonds are valuable because they are so (intrinsic/rare).
  4. The dollar is the (cash/currency) of the USA.
  5. When people (barter/guarantee) goods they simply exchange one good for another.
  6. Banks will only lend to people who can (guarantee/barter) to pay back the loan.
  7. Some shops won’t accept credit cards. They will only take (cash/currency).
  8. When something (holds its value/is taken for granted) people don’t think it has great value.
  9. Coins and notes are used to (swap/represent) value.
  10. Metals have (intrinsic/rare) value because they can be used to make things.
  11. If money can easily be moved around and used we say it has (liquidity/currency).
  12. Centuries ago people paid using (commodity money/fiat money) such as gold and silver.
  13. (Commodity money/fiat money) like banknotes and coins has intrinsic value. It only represents value.
  Text 2. History of Money

Task 1. a). Read the text aloud.

B). Look up the words you do not know in the dictionary.

C). Why were such commodities as cattle, sheep, furs, leather, fish, tobacco, tea, salt, shells replaced by precious metals?

D). Explain the role of goldsmiths in the appearance of banknotes.

At different periods of time and in different parts of the world many different commodities have served as money. These commodities were: cattle, sheep, furs, leather, fish, tobacco, tea, salt shells etc. The experts underline that to serve effectively as money, a commodity should be fairly durable, easily divisible and portable. None of the above-mentioned commodities possessed all these qualities and in time they were replaced by precious metals. First they were replaced by silver and later by gold.

When a payment was made the metal was first weighed out. The next stage was the cutting of the metal into pieces of definite weight and so coins came into use.

Paper money first came into use in the form of receipts given by goldsmiths in exchange for deposits of silver and gold coins. After goldsmiths became bankers their receipts became banknotes. That’s how the first banknotes came into existence.

  Text 3. The Functions of Money

Task 1. Read and translate the texts.

Money, with its special characteristics, serves many important economic functions.

Money is anything that people commonly accept in exchange for goods and services. Money has three basic functions. It serves as a medium of exchange, a standard of value and a store of value.Anything that serves any of these three functions is a type of money.

Medium of exchange.The single most important use of money is as a medium of exchange. A medium of exchange is any item that sellers will accept in payment for goods or services. As a medium of exchange, money assists in the buying and selling of goods and services because buyers know that sellers will accept money in payment for products or services.

Standard of value.The second use of money is as a standard of value. That is, money provides people with a way to measure the relative value of goods or services by comparing the prices of products. In this way, people can judge the relative worth of different items such as a television and a bicycle. They can also judge the relative values of two different models or brands of the same type of item by comparing their prices.

Money’s function as a standard of value is also important to record keeping. Businesses need to figure profits and losses. Similarly, governments must be able to figure tax receipts and the cost of expenditures. Money, because it helps provide some uniformity to these accounting tasks, is also called a unit of accounting.

Store of value.The third function or role of money is that it can be saved or stored for later use. For money to serve as a store of value, two conditions must be met. First, the money must be nonperishable. That is, it cannot rot or otherwise deteriorate while being saved. Second, it must keep its value over time. In other words, the purchasing power of the money must be relatively constant. If both of these conditions are met, many people will be hesitant about saving money today that will be worth little or nothing tomorrow.

Characteristic of Money

To be used as money, an item must have certain characteristics. The five major characteristics of money are durability, portability, divisibility, stability in value and acceptability.

Durability.Durability refers to money’s ability to be used over and over again. Eggs would be a poor choice for money because they are fragile and perishable. Metals such as gold and silver, however, are ideal because they withstand wear and tear well. In fact, many coins minted in ancient times are still in existence.

Portability. Money’s ability to be carried from one place to another and transferred from one person to another is its portability. As a medium of exchange, money must be convenient for people to use. Items that are difficult to carry make poor money.

Divisibility.Divisibility refers to money’s ability to be divided into smaller units. Combining various coins permits buyers and sellers to make transactions of any size. Divisibility also enhances money’s use as a standard of value because exact price comparisons between products can be made.

Stability in value and acceptability. For money to be useful as a store of value, it must be stable in value. Stability in value encourages savings and maintains money’s purchasing power. Most people who save money are confident that it will have approximately the same value when they want to buy something with it as it had when they put it into savings.

Acceptability means that people are willing to accept money in exchange for their goods or services. People accept money because they know they, in turn, can spend it for other products.

Types of Money

Money comes in all shapes and sizes. The items used as money are a reflection of the society in which they are used. Money as a rule includes coins, paper money, checks and near money. Checks or checkbook money usually make up more than 70 percent of the nation’s money supply and nearly 90 percent of the transactions in most countries are completed by writing checks. Because checks are payable to the holder of the check on demand, checking accounts are often called demand deposits. Checks are representative money because they stand for the amount of money in a person’s account. They are generally accepted because the bank must pay the amount of the check when it is presented for payment. Checks, therefore, are considered money because they are a medium of exchange, a standard of value and a store of value. Other financial assets are very similar to money. These assets, such as savings accounts and time deposits are called near money and are not usually considered part of the nation’s money supply. Bills of exchange are examples of near money. Though they are easily accessible, these accounts cannot be used directly to buy goods or pay debts. Depositors, for example, cannot pay bills directly from their savings accounts. Since funds in these accounts can be easily converted into cash, however, they are considered near money.

Sources of Money’s Value

Money must have and retain value. All money falls into three categories according to what gives the money its value.

The three categories of money are commodity money, representative money and fiat money.

Commodity money.An item that has a value of its own and that is also used as money is called commodity money. Throughout history, societies have used many commodities as money. The ancient Romans sometimes used salt as money. Precious metals such as gold and silver and gems such as rubies, emeralds and diamonds have often been used as money. The majority of nations in the world today use currency – coins and paper bills – for money. The Lydians, an ancient people in Asia Minor, minted the world’s first coins about 700 B.C. The Chinese developed the first paper currency, perhaps as early as A.D. 1000 or A.D. 1100.

Representative money. Money that has value because it can be exchanged for something valuable is representative money. Checks are representative money because they can be exchanged for currency as long as the check writer has sufficient funds on account.

Fiat money.Value is attached o fiat money because a government decree, or fiat, says that it has value. Coins and paper money are examples of fiat money. The money has value because the government says that citizens must accept paper money and coins for all transactions.

Essential vocabulary

a.d. – anno domini – нашей эры

b.c. – before christ – до нашей эры

deteriorate – ухудшаться

gem – драгоценный камень

nonperishable – непортящийся

over time – в течение длительного времени

perishable – скоропортящийся

stand for – означать, символизировать

wear and tear – износ, изнашивание

withstand – выдержать, противостоять

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