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Myths about money

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Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about money. I’ve learned about its creation, usage and operation. I’ve learned that it wasn’t invented to replace bartering. I’ve learned a lot. Here’s a few facts about money …

The Barter Economy was a myth

We believe that money replaced bartering with each other, but that’s just because Adam Smith created this myth. It’s a fallacy and was not true.

No academics I talked to were aware of any evidence that barter was actually the precursor to money, despite the story’s prevalence in economics textbooks and the public’s consciousness. Some argue that no one ever believed barter was real to begin with—the idea was a crude model used to simplify the context of modern economic systems, not a real theory about past ones.

Source: The Atlantic

Before we invented money as a control mechanism, societies worked with what we could call community currencies. You give me help and I help you in return. This is the nature of gift economies, which is the core of how humans worked before money. It was not barter. It was supporting each other.

Money is purely a belief system

We believe in money because our supervisors tell us that this is what is important. Interestingly, I learned a fact the other day that most people do what they are told because they believe they should. This is the Milgram experiment, which found that four out of five people will do what they are told to do, just because they obey orders. We are ordered to believe that this money exists when, in fact, it does not. It is a fantasy that is just made up to allow us to trade.

Money does make you happy

There’s this thing about money can’t buy me love and we don’t need it, but money enables a happy life. If you worry about money, you become depressed and it affects your mental health. In fact, most people with anxieties can trace a lot of that anxiety back to their bank account. If you are healthy with money, then you are wealthy with life. I’ve never subscribed to the belief that money can’t make you happy but I have subscribed to the understanding that the lack of money can make you very unhappy. Just look at any film or TV show to see how.

Money is secret

The one thing we don’t talk about is how much money we have. We may display it, if you have it, but you don’t want anyone else knowing how much is in your account. Some people don’t even want their partners to know how much they have. They may have an ask in the bedroom but in the bank, well, that’s my secret. Money is private and we take great care to keep it that way.

Money can buy you love

I guess I’ll finish this with a rejection of the Beatles myth that Money can’t buy me love. It can. Just look at Rupert Murdoch and Bernie Ecclestone. When I see older men with younger women, or vice versa, I often look at who has the bankroll. Money talks.


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Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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