In ancient times, it was realized that an exchange of commodities was essential to the wellbeing of communities. The earliest “money” arriving in the form of conch shells, around 1300 BC. Later bronze casts produced coins, some having holes in the centre for the convenience of stringing them together.
The ancient Babylonians developed one of the earliest guidelines in the form of shekels, presenting a specific weight when goods were exchanged. This was a great benefit to both parties with an element of honesty.
Barter was a very popular method of exchanging goods such as stones, logs, etc. for mutual benefit, forward to around 9000 BC when valuables like livestock, crops, and salt were exchanged.
Many methods were only viable when the coincidence of need occurred, value often not considered. Coins were used way up to the 16th century and later notes could be taken in exchange for the deposit of precious metals – banking had arrived!
Temples have often been considered as being the earliest banks, safes unknown as in modern times, wealthy merchants and others putting their trust in priests considered devout and honest.
Culture and religion too play a role in money. The Torah of Judaism was strict on loans and interests and Israelites were to avoid debt at all times.
Amongst Christians, the charging of interest named usury was at one time banned by the church. However, in the 12th century, huge sums of money financed the crusades. Regarding Islam, the Quran forbids interest on loans.
Changing the topic somewhat – why do so many people hate the banks? Well, firstly many in today’s society have a lack of understanding of how banking operates and what transparency exists.
There is also distress due to a history of predatory behaviour and much negativity is fueling future trends. We are aware of how much the digital age has changed the landscape and mobile banking is growing at 5 times the rate of online banking. Love it or hate it, money is one of the greatest commodities ever and it can arouse emotions like joy, hatred, and jealousy, cause one to soar to dizzy height or plunge into the depths of depression.
In closing, a wise man once wrote “Money is a terrible master, but a great servant”!