Excerpt from the manuscript “What Ails Indian Economy?”
“In fact, any product, commodity or service acquires value because of the demand. Today, a music system may cost about Rs.50,000. If tomorrow, people are no longer interested in music or there are other ways of listening to music, the music system loses its value. The value of any product or commodity is based on the importance people attach to it, particularly if it is not an essential item like food, clothing and shelter. …..
To understand better, what money is, it would be useful to have some background information. Direct barter system was used in the olden days. It was possible then, as the requirements of the people were limited to, may be food, clothing and shelter. It would not have been very difficult for a person, to locate….. For example in the olden days a person would have grown cereals on his land. The other person would have grown vegetables and a third person would have grown fruits etc. all in the same locality. People knew each other well and the person who wanted to exchange his cereals with vegetables would not have had any difficulty in locating the person who had vegetables to dispose of and at the same time needed cereals.
Sometimes, people had products to dispose of, but they did not need to buy anything at that time. They therefore needed to keep something in exchange for their products. This something has come to be called the money. People used to keep their money in the form of land, cattle, grains and later in gold, silver, copper etc.
In order that goods and services are disposed of and acquired without much discussions, there is need to express their values. Earlier people might have expressed the value in terms of land, grains or cattle or other domesticated animals. People would have talked of wages of a worker in terms of units (weight or volume) of grain. They would have talked of value of some area of land in terms of cattle-10 cows or 20 cows etc. But now the value of goods and services are talked of in terms of currency -rupees or pounds or dollars or euros etc.
People are willing to exchange valuable goods and services for printed small sheets of paper- currency notes, because they know that other people would accept these papers in exchange for their goods. The currency notes thus acquire value. The same is true of gold…….
(to be continued)