Will That Be Cash, Debit, Gold Or Time?

Aug. 30, 2012 4:36 PM ET
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Contributor Since 2012

With all of the uncertainty going on in the world markets, there are movements going on with respect to currency. The number of ways to pay for something is increasing, and the choices are becoming more varied. The currency that is being used at a given time is reflection of the state of affairs at that time.

Cash and check issued by a government or a bank are well known. What about gold? This has been around much longer than modern forms of money, and it is still recognized as currency by central banks and governments. It is used by consumers too in the form of jewelry or coins.

What about time? There are movements happening around the world where goods and services are being paid for by time. When people hear this, they tend to hear the word barter, and think that they are being brought back to the "stone age" and that this is limiting.

Have you ever bought bus tickets? These tickets are currency for riding the bus. Have you ever done your friend a favour and had it returned likewise? This is a form of barter. People don't see this as a real transaction, but what else do you call it? These are all examples of a type of barter Aren't people paid a wage by the hour? If you just translate your work into hours instead of dollars, what is the difference? The common answer would be that hours cannot be exchanged. This is where the idea of a time bank comes in. This operates just like another database, where the hours you work are logged into it and exchanged for different services. (1) (2) (3)

Another concept that is being tested is mobile money. Instead of cash and check, services are being paid for by mobile devices with credits. This is similar to traditional cash except that it uses technology instead of a traditional bank balance. (4)

Currency has evolved many times in history - and everything can be used as money. (5)(6) Since the world markets are rapidly changing, the currencies may change as well. Why wouldn't it happen again in the future?


1) http://www.timebanking.org/

2) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mira-luna/local-money-creates-wealt_b_1071976.html

3) http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/in-spain-financial-crisis-feeds-expansion-of-a-parallel-euro-free-economy/2012/08/27/53ed3552-e00f-11e1-a19c-fcfa365396c8_story_1.html

4) http://www.economist.com/node/21560878

5) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_money


Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

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