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Why was gold used as a standard for currency?

Launcher Icarus
Status Closed Mediated Closed 3 years, 5 months ago
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social sciences Anthropology


What makes gold so ideal for use as money? What is the history behind the gold standard and the reasons why it was accepted for trade rather than the traditional barter that used to be practiced in ancient times?

Answers (1)

  • karenb
    Aug 11, 2011

    For many centuries, gold has been regarded a valuable commodity by civilization. There are other metals rarer than gold and have more practical uses than gold, but gold is considered THE precious metal by man. The riches of the ancient world have been linked to gold - coins, jewelries, etc.

    When man found a way to melt gold into coins more than two thousand years ago, it was then the perfect monetary and trade method at that time. It was more convenient and easier to deal with than barter methods. The use of gold as a monetary unit has of course been replaced by paper currency.

    With the goal of stabilizing paper currency, gold standard systems have been adapted by different countries in the past three centuries. It worked for some time, but with economic challenges brought by the First World War, gold standard systems were stopped to enable more flexible manipulation of currency.

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