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Money in History and World Cultures Research Paper

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Updated: Jun 11th, 2020

Money is regarded as one of the most valuable assets that a human being can have. Most wealthy people are associated with huge amounts of money. Those without money are referred to as being poor. Different cultures have different definitions of money. Money has changed significantly over time, resulting in the evolution of ideas on how people view money. This paper aims to address these issues in an objective manner.

What is Money?

There is no single definition of money. Ferguson (2008) reveals that some people refer to money as cash, while others refer to it as wealth. There are also those who consider money as power. In fact, money is quoted in the Holy Bible as power. In accounting, money is associated with finance. There can be no accounts if money is missing. Money can be converted to other forms of wealth, such as commercial property, land, stock shares, and other forms of resources.

Different countries have different values for their money, which are dictated by the economy of that particular country. It is this difference in the value of money that brings about the different statuses of economic development among countries. Countries whose money has higher economic value are referred to as developed countries. On the other hand, those whose money has average or little economic value are in the category of either developing or undeveloped countries.

The desire to have money has resulted in mankind doing all sorts of jobs so as to acquire money. Education systems have introduced numerous courses that are aimed at equipping students with skills that will give them more money. Those who fail to obtain jobs may result in acts of crime in order to acquire money. Without money, life can become extremely difficult to a point where some depressed individuals commit suicide.

Evolution of Money in terms of its Purpose and Significance

Money has evolved over time, and so has its purpose and significance. Many people have increased their pursuit of money, and their average incomes have gone up as a result (Ferguson 2008). This increase in the average income has resulted in the rise in the cost of living. However, there are individuals who have managed to multiply their income to a point where their net revenue exceeds that of several nations. Ferguson gives an excellent example by saying that in 2007, the net revenue of Goldman exceeded the gross domestic products (GDP) of several countries from across different continents, including Serbia, Bolivia, Croatia, Ecuador, Syria, Angola, and Tunisia.

The evolution of money has brought divisions in terms of classes. There is a category of people who have managed to evolve economically as the value of money evolves. These people have been able to earn colossal amounts of money in any given year. Ferguson (2008) has managed to contrast the amount of money that particular individuals make versus the number of people who live in deplorable conditions. He says that Griffin Ken managed to make over $2 billion in 2007. He continues to argue that the total assets that were owned by banks in that year exceeded $1 trillion, yet there were close to a billion families that lived on less than $1 in a day throughout the world.

Ferguson (2008) has made an effort to explain the disparities that money has brought to mankind. He says that financial debtors have outnumbered creditors over the years in their pursuit of quick money, as they charge high interest on the money that they lend to creditors. Debtors are also said to take advantage of the ignorance of creditors to exploit them in the agricultural, as well as the manufacturing sector. In addition, financial institutions all over the world are managed by members of particular ethnic backgrounds or religious backgrounds. This has resulted in economic disparity, where only a small number of individuals make huge amounts of money in contrast to the increasing number of poor people.

Numerous financial crises that keep on hitting nations have seen many unfortunate individuals claim that money is the cause of poverty and volatility, instead of prosperity and stability, respectively. An example of where money has been a source of volatility is the case of gambling. Many gamblers use their savings in the hope of multiplying their fortune. Unfortunately, several of them are made poor once their money is gone without the hope of ever getting it back.

On the other hand, money has caused prosperity to individuals, nations, empires, cooperatives, and many other organizations. The growth of the British and the Dutch empires was mainly anchored on the ability of the empires to grow financially (Ferguson 2008). The emergence of the United States as a superpower in the 20th century was due to the growth of its financial sector, where mortgage finance, insurance, and consumer credit grew exponentially. The emergence and dominance of the Dutch empire were due to its establishment of the stock market, which prevailed over the silver mine that the Habsburg Empire upheld. Insurance, which is based on money, has resulted in safety and stability among the insured people. Ferguson adds that countries that are regarded as the safest have the highest numbers of citizens who are insured as well. Hedge funds have increased over the years from the very first one that was instituted in the early 1940s to more than seven thousand, who now manages over $1.9 trillion.

The significance of money has grown so clearly that persons who work in the financial sector are among the highly paid personnel throughout the world. Ferguson (2008) confirms that employees working in financial institutions, such as banks, in the United States are currently paid almost three times more than what their peers in other sectors, such as agriculture, earn. As a result, Ferguson claims that many aspiring graduates throughout America are seeking to have jobs in the financial sector as their first time employment.

The amount of money that is being exchanged each year has gone up tremendously over the years. For example, the world’s economic output was $47 trillion in 2006, with its stock market being $ 51 trillion (Ferguson 2008). Close to $2 trillion are said to be traded daily in various markets that deal with foreign exchange. These are high financial amounts that have been in circulation, as compared to 200 years ago, when the world’s economic output was far below $1 trillion.

The ascent of finance seems to be strong globally, despite the various economic challenges that nations face from time to time. These challenges include the terrorist attacks that seek to weaken the economies of the targeted countries. A good example given by Ferguson is where he attests that the Dow Jones Industrial Average went down by 14% following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack. However, this did not take long, as there was a quick recovery in just three months. In 2007, the level of Dow doubled from the position that it was before the attack.

Ideas about Money

Initially, one would think that money is merely cash, which involves the exchange of money notes and coins. Others would have held the thought that money is evil. However, this course has made it clear to many students that money is the driving force of any economy throughout the world. The amount of success that various individuals, institutions, and nations have is often associated with the ability to manage money in an effective and efficient manner. In fact, there is a majority of students who are now willing to get employed in financial institutions, as these institutions have been ranked among the best in terms of remuneration.


Money has been in existence for as long as mankind has lived. However, it has evolved in terms of its purpose and significance in a tremendous way. The amount of money that circulates in each given year in modern times is far much higher than in ancient times. Several successes have been attributed to money, where particular empires and nations have triumphed as a result of excellent financial management. Unfortunately, money has caused disparities among mankind, where the small group of individuals who have acquired a lot of money has been placed in the category of the rich, while those who do not acquire much money are referred to as poor. On the other hand, financial institutions have increased the gross domestic product of nations.


Ferguson, N. (2008). The ascent of money: A financial history of the world. New York, NY: The Penguin Press. Web.

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