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ECO 110 Economics For Medium Of Exchange And Unit Of Account

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  • Course Code: ECO 110
  • University: Saint Leo University
  • Country: United States

Question:

Consider the unconventional form of money that was being used, namely cigarettes. Describe how cigarettes addressed each of the 3 functions of money. What function were cigarettes best and worst at satisfying? Has there ever been a situation where you have used a nonconventional form of money? Use the Radford article to support your position.

 

Answer:

There are three primary functions of money, which can also be served by cigarettes:

  1. a) Medium of exchange-Money can be used as common exchange medium to buy any good or service. Cigarettes can also be used for this purpose, being one of the most commonly used commodities worldwide.
  2. b) Unit of account-Goods and services are valued with respect of money as numeraire. In this aspect, cigarettes can also be used as goods and services can be traded in terms of numbers of cigarettes (McLeay et al.).
  3. c) Store of value-Money can be held at hand as retained purchasing power. This can be served by cigarettes too as they are not easily perishable.

However, among these three functions cigarettes can be best used as a medium of exchange. The worst fit in this aspect is in the store of value because, cigarettes being a commodity of addiction, cannot be stored for a long time (Jessop).

In this context, once I had to use barter system to complete a transaction due to the shortage of money and immediate urgency of the situation at that time. Stranded at a place distant from my home, after being robbed of my purse, I traded my watch to get a cab ride to my home. The transaction, though being considerably costly, proved to be helpful as I safely reached my home in a cab without any money.  

 

References

Jessop, Bob. "Credit Money, Fiat Money and Currency Pyramids: Reflections on the Financial Crisis and Sovereign Debt." Financial Crises and the Nature of Capitalist Money. Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2013. 248-272.

McLeay, Michael, Amar Radia, and Ryland Thomas. "Money in the modern economy: an introduction." (2014).

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