Although the crucial feature of money is its acceptance as the means of payment оr medium of exchange, money has other functions. It serves as a standard of-value, a unit of account, a store of value and ft a standard of deferred payment. We discuss each of the functions of money in turn.
The Medium of Exchange. Средство обращения.
Money, the medium of exchange, is used in one-half of almost all exchange. Workers exchange labour services for money. People buy and sell goods in exchange for money. We accept money not to consume it directly but because it can subsequently be used to pay things we do wish to consume. Money is the medium through, which people exchange goods and services.
To see that society benefits from a medium of exchange, imagine a barter economy.
A barter economy has no medium of exchange. Goods are traded directly or swapped for other goods.
In a barter economy, the seller and the buyer each must want something the other has to offer. Each person is simultaneously a seller and a buyer. In order to see a film, you must hand over in exchange a good or service that the cinema manager wants. There has to be a double coincidence of wants. You have to find a cinema where the manager wants what you have to offer in exchange.
Trading is very expensive in a barter economy. People must spend a tot of time and effort finding others with whom they can make mutually satisfactory swaps. Since time and effort are scarce resources, a barter economy is wasteful. The use of monеу - any commodity generally accepted in payment for goods, services, and debts - makes the trading process simpler and more efficient.
Other Functions of Моnеу. Другие функции денег
Money can also serve as a standard of value. Society considers it convenient to use a monetary unit to determine relative costs of different goods and services. In this function money appears as the unit of account, is the unit in which prices are quoted and accounts are kept.
In Russia prices are quoted in roubles; in Britain, in pounds sterling; in the USA, in US dollars; in France, in French francs. It is usually convenient to use the units in which the medium of exchange is measured as the unit of account as well. However there are exceptions. During the rapid German inflation of 1922 - 1923 when prices in marks were changing very quickly, German shopkeepers found it more convenient to use dollars as the unit of account. Prices were quoted in dollars even though payment was made in marks, the German medium of exchange.
The situation in Russia nowadays reminds of that of in Germany.
Money is a store of value because it can be used to make purchases in the future.
To be accepted in exchange, money has to be a store of value. Nobody would accept money as payment for goods supplied today if the money was going to be worthless when they tried to buy goods with it tomorrow. But money is neither the only nor necessarily the best store of value. Houses, stamp collections, and interest-bearing bank accounts all serve as stores of value. Since money pays no interest and its real purchasing power is eroded by inflation, there are almost certainly better ways to store value.
Finally, money serves as a standard of deferred payment or a unit of account over time. When you borrow, the amount to be repaid next year is measured in pounds sterling or in some other hard currency. Although convenient, this is not an essential function of money. UK citizens can get bank loans specifying in dollars the amount that must be repaid next year. Thus the key feature of money is its use as a medium of exchange. For this, it must act as a store of value as well. And it is usually, though not invariably, convenient to make money the unit of account and standard of deferred payment as well.
Different Kinds of Money. Различные виды денег
In prisoner-of-war camps, cigarettes served as money. In the 19th century money was mainly gold and silver coins. These are examples of commodity money, ordinary goods with industrial uses (gold) and consumption uses (cigarettes), which also serve as a medium of exchange. To use a commodity money, society must either cut back on other uses of that commodity or devote scarce resources to producing additional quantities of the commodity. But there are less expensive ways for society to produce money.
A token money is a means of payment whose value or purchasing power as money greatly exceeds its cost of production or value in uses other than as money.