Where does money come from?

Prof. Raghavendra Rau

From barter to modern-day digital currencies, money has taken many shapes and forms over the years. But how did we originally come to trust a piece of paper?

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It is difficult to imagine modern society and how it functions today without money. It is a concept that is so rooted in our minds that we rarely question what it is or where it came from. 

The first banks appeared in Italy during the fifteenth century, at the peak of the Renaissance, but Mesopotamian tribes introduced bartering as far back as 6000 BCE. Bartering was, and still is, a system where goods and services are exchanged without using money. After that, valuable metals started to appear as forms of payment and for centuries this is what came to define economies. 

Prof. Raghavendra Rau takes us back in time to look at where money comes from, the moment it was no longer associated with valuable metals and why trust has been at the centre of every single transaction ever since.  Join this fascinating Garden Talk as we explore how we came to trust a piece of paper.

What is money? How did we come to trust a piece of paper?

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50 minutes

About the Fellow

Prof. Raghavendra Rau

Prof. Rau is the Sir Evelyn de Rothschild Professor of Finance at Cambridge Judge Business School. His research focuses on how investors and firms acquire and use information.

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