The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS -

What can I get for it?

In the last in­stall­ment we learned about the growth of towns and the growth of var­i­ous trades such as car­pen­try, weav­ing and black­smithing. Imag­ine be­ing a pot­ter dur­ing that time. Each day the pot­ters make one or two pots. At the end of a few weeks the pot­ter has more pots than he could ever use or need. The fact is, the pot­ter has a sur­plus of pots. What could he do with this sur­plus? Trade them of course for some­thing from an­other trades­per­son! For in­stance he could trade some of his pots for warm blan­kets from the weaver. He could trade pots with Jack the farmer for beans and corn. Like­wise, Ge­orge the car­pen­ter might re­pair a wagon in ex­change for some tools from the black­smith. Even­tu­ally, mer­chants (fore­run­ners of to­day’s sales peo­ple!) would travel great dis­tances to find things that were not grown or made at home. The mer­chants would bring these goods home and peo­ple would trade lo­cal goods with the mer­chant for the goods he had brought from far away.

A fair deal?

Bar­ter­ing was easy at first when there were only a few things to trade. It was also easy be­cause peo­ple read­ily agreed on what could be traded for what. But, as the range of goods and ser­vices in­creased, bar­ter­ing got more com­pli­cated. With hun­dreds of items on the mar­ket, it be­came more dif­fi­cult to de­cide what could be traded for what. Did three camels have the same value as a tent? Was the shoe­ing of 4 horses equiv­a­lent in value to 4 bolts of silk brought from far away lands? Which was worth more – a hand­crafted ta­ble or 3 finely woven blan­kets? Peo­ple had dif­fer­ent ideas about the value of items and this caused prob­lems with the bar­ter­ing sys­tem. In fact, some­times a per­son would trade for some­thing they didn’t want in the hope that in the fu­ture they could trade that item for some­thing they did want. An­other prob­lem with the bar­ter­ing sys­tem was that peo­ple had to carry around ev­ery­thing they wanted to trade – this could get quite dif­fi­cult. It wasn’t long be­fore peo­ple be­gan look­ing for eas­ier ways to make a trade.

Shells, Salt and Stone

Look­ing for eas­ier ways to make a trade, peo­ple came up with the idea of us­ing a medium of ex­change. The money we use to­day is a medium of ex­change but at this point in our story money has not yet been in­vented so, what did peo­ple use? Al­most any­thing! A medium of ex­change cho­sen by a group of peo­ple was usu­ally some­thing that was abun­dant in their home en­vi­ron­ment and that they agreed had a spe­cific value. For ex­am­ple, many cul­tures used shells. In this case ev­ery­thing had a value mea­sured in shells. A shirt for ex­am­ple might have a value of 2 shells, a hat 1 shell and so on. What­ever was bought was paid for in shells. In many parts of the world salt was used as a medium of ex­change. Salt was valu­able be­cause it was needed to pre­serve and add flavour to food. Other items that were used around the world in­cluded tea leaves, feath­ers, seeds, fish, camels, ele­phant tail bris­tles and even dead rats! Yap stone money, also know as “rai”, was a unique form of cur­rency used by the peo­ple of Yap Is­land. Yap stones were made of arag­o­nite. Arag­o­nite is not found on Yap is­land, which meant that peo­ple had to travel to an­other is­land to quarry the stones and bring them back. The stone was scarce, dif­fi­cult to quarry and the skill and ef­fort re­quired to pro­duce a yap stone com­bined to cre­ate their value. The stones were round with a hole in the mid­dle so that the stone could be moved with a long pole. Yap stones came in a va­ri­ety of sizes with some as large at 12 feet in di­am­e­ter and weigh­ing as much as 225 kilo­grams (try fit­ting one of those in your wal­let!) Yap stones were mainly used as a type of cer­e­mo­nial money. For ex­am­ple, they were of­ten put out­side a house to dis­play the owner’s wealth and they were also used for po­lit­i­cal pay­ments, such as pur­chas­ing sup­port of a neigh­bour­ing tribe. Yap stones are still used for cer­e­mo­nial trans­ac­tions to­day. Wam­pum beads were made from dif­fer­ent types of shells and were used as a medium of ex­change in early Canada by the Iro­quois and their neigh­bours. Pur­ple and white beads were strung to­gether into a belt. A string of wam­pum was of­ten given by a buyer to a seller af­ter a bar­gain had been made. When Euro­peans ar­rived in Canada they adopted wam­pum as a means of ex­change. Ev­ery­thing was val­ued in wam­pum from beaver skins to house­hold goods and food. Next up: Mint­ing and Print­ing News­pa­per Ac­tiv­ity You have prob­a­bly bartered. When you traded video games or col­lec­tor cards you were bar­ter­ing. How did you de­cide what made a fair trade? Work with a part­ner. Your teacher will as­sign you a cat­e­gory. Re­view to­day’s news­pa­per for pic­tures, words in head­lines, and ads that de­pict a prod­uct or prod­ucts within your cat­e­gory. Cut at least 10 of them out. Then meet with other pairs to trade one or more of your goods for one or more of their goods. Your goal is to col­lect at least one item from each cat­e­gory: • En­ter­tain­ment (tele­vi­sions, e-read­ers, tablets, cam­eras, DVD play­ers and other en­ter­tain­ment de­vices) • Other elec­tron­ics (com­put­ers, cell phones and accessories) • Ve­hi­cles • House­hold Items (fur­ni­ture, fur­nace, clean­ing ser­vices, food) • Per­sonal Ser­vices/En­ter­tain­ment (hair­dress­ing, spas, den­tal/

movies, the­atre pro­duc­tions, com­mu­nity events) Re­group as a class and dis­cuss: What dif­fi­cul­ties did you ex­pe­ri­ence when bar­ter­ing? How did you de­ter­mine what made a fair trade? In your opin­ion, is bar­ter­ing a work­able method of ac­quir­ing goods/ser­vices? Ex­plain your po­si­tion. Ex­ten­sion: Re­search where and how bar­ter­ing is used in the world to­day.

Fundrais­ing Plans

Af­ter the first in­stall­ment of Money $1.01 you came up with a name for your fundrais­ing plan and brain­stormed a list of items needed by your cho­sen school. Re­view that list. Pri­or­i­tize the items on it ac­cord­ing to those that are most needed to those that are least needed. Then, re­search the ap­prox­i­mate cost of each of the top 5 items. As a class, de­ter­mine if your fundrais­ing ef­forts could re­al­ize enough money for any or all of the top 5 items. On the ba­sis of this, set a fundrais­ing goal. How much money are you hop­ing to raise? What kind of vis­ual could you use to track your fundrais­ing re­sults? How about a ther­mome­ter, a cutout fig­ure climb­ing a mountain, or an odome­ter on a web­site? Use your imagination. Sketch a pic­ture of your track­ing de­vice or write a para­graph to de­scribe it.

Yap Stone

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