Why Currency?

For my groups’ inquiry project, we are dealing with the question how does currency relate to humanity? I decided to take the more historic approach to the question. The two question that immediately were how did currency develop in cultures? And how did bartering turn into currency? In doing my research I was only able to find why china switched from using cattle to using shells and coins: The northern people in China found it was hard to find enough shells from the south, so they started using other materials like pottery, stone, bone, jade, bronze and gold to make shell-shaped coins. The bronze shell-shaped coins heralded the start of the Chinese coin.
Although I was not successful at finding information for my first question, I was able to find a good amount of information for my second question. Civilizations used animals and resources to barter in the beginning. The most primitive form of money found is shells. Known in Africa as cowries and wampum in America. These small shells, deriving from the Maldives Islands in the Indian Ocean, were a treasured item in the civilizations of China and India from very early times. From India these attractive objects were carried along the trade routes to Africa. Similarly the American Indians use a small white cylindrical shell for ceremonial gifts, embroidered on to decorated belts or other ornaments.
The earliest known currency to be used in commercial transactions appeared in Egypt and Mesopotamia by the third millennium BC. The currency used were gold bars which had to be weighed to establish their value each time they are exchanged. Later on, the gold bars were supplemented by gold rings for smaller sums. Egypt and Mesopotamia gold was deposited in temples for safe-keeping as temples were known for being safe places. In Babylon at the time of Hammurabi, in the 18th century BC, there are records of loans made by the priests of the temple. This is the first documentation of banking. The earliest known coins in the western world came from the city of Ephesus in Ionia (in western Turkey) around 650 BC. The metal used in the coins is electrum which is a natural alloy of gold and silver found locally in the area. The coins were bean shaped and had a distinguishing mark on one side such as the image of a lion. Shi Huangdi, the first emperor of China, introduces the more well-known round coin in the late 3rd century BC. Cast in bronze rather than struck, they have a square hole in the middle which would become a characteristic of far eastern coins for the next two millennia. China developed paper currency and soon it was being used everywhere.


Being literate and “good” writing

To be literate, to me, means that a person is able to read and write but they also have to be able to use grammar properly and fully understand what they read. They also have to be able to communicate with others efficiently. When I think of a literate person, I think of someone who is able to properly use grammar, comprehends what they read, and are able to communicate effectively in one language or a few.

Good writing will have a different meaning to everyone but to me good writing is a piece of writing that is able to draw your attention and makes use of the senses. I love reading books and papers that use the senses so that when I am reading the piece I am able to have a clear picture of what is happening in my mind kind of like a movie playing while I am reading. If I’m not draw into a book or paper by the end of the first page I stop reading because I want something that can hold my attention. Most of the required readings for these general education classes we take, I only read because it is required granted that every once and a while there is a piece I like but mostly I do not like them at all. Good writing of course has proper use of grammar and such. I would not consider writing that has more than a few grammar mistakes to be good.

What “grinds my gears” when I’m reading something is when the subject keeps jumping around paragraph to paragraph. It’s like they don’t know how to relate the subjects so they don’t even try and then everything turns up messy. I also hate it when people put too much information or too many details into a paper. I just want the main point and a little background information not the entire history of a subject. I don’t mind writing five to seven page paper but when someone writes a paper that is five to seven pages over the maximum page limit, all I can say is why? No one wants to read a paper that long while you really like reading papers. When I communicate with people, I hate it when they text me every little detail of what they are doing at the moment, if I didn’t ask about it then I don’t want to know about it. I also hate it when I’m talking to my friend and some inserts themselves into the conversation or acts like they know what we are taking about. And when someone tells you something that you didn’t ask about or want to know about their life it just makes the conversation become awkward.

While reading the article “teaching as unteaching” I saw how lucky I was that even though some of my high school English teachers told my class some of the same things they never told us that college used the same guidelines as high school. The teachers that I liked best in high school would give the class guidelines for the length of the paper and then give us free range on what we would write about. I do agree with what the author is saying in the article. It seems that in all subjects we are taught that what we learn will be used in college and it’s not meaning we have to forget about half of what we have learned since it serves no purpose and learn new things.