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While electronic funds have only been around a relatively short time, paper money has only been used for the last 3,000 years or so. Prior to paper money, cowry shells and…


From roughly 9,000 B.C. to approximately 6,000 B.C. livestock was a popular medium of exchange. However, as agriculture developed later on, people used their crops to acquire goods they desired (“Thinkquest”). For example, I could ask another farmer to trade a pound of potatoes for a pound of sugar. These exchanges, which started at the beginning of humankind, are still used today.
Not too long ago, I came across the story of Kyle MacDonald. On his blog,, Kyle posted a picture of a small, red paperclip. There was nothing special about this paperclip; just a regular old run-of-the-mill paperclip. The post stated that he would travel anywhere to meet the person who wished to trade him some item for his paperclip. After a while, a woman contacted Kyle regarding a wooden fish pen that she wished to trade him for his red paperclip. Obviously, she could have picked up a red paperclip at any office supply store or big-box retailer, but Kyle had added value to this particular paperclip. By “added value,” I mean he drew attention to the paperclip making it seemingly more than just a regular paperclip. If this woman were to trade him, she would, at the very least, be mentioned on his blog. Thus, she wanted to participate in the trade, exchanging her wooden fish pen, which in my opinion was far cooler than the red paperclip.
Kyle stated his goal in the very first post, with the red paperclip. He was to up-trade, from that single, red paperclip, to a home. So, with wooden fish pen in hand, Kyle posted photos of the woman who he had traded with, along with photos of the pen on his blog. Again, he stated that he would travel anywhere to trade someone another item for his pen.
He was contacted not too long after posting the fish pen, by a woman named Annie Robbins in Seattle, WA, who wanted to trade a handmade doorknob for the fish pen. This was not just any doorknob. It was handmade, and looked like an old, bald man; ...
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