A Zom-Bite Into the Origin of Money

If you’re like most zombie fans, you’ve been anxiously awaiting the season 7 premiere of AMC’s The Walking Dead (which is on Sunday, October 23 at 9/8c for those of you actually living in the apocalypse). Last season left us all questioning which ragtag member of Rick’s crew is fated to meet Negan’s bat. And since that finale, fans have been coming up with all sorts of theories as to who it will be and why.

Readers of the comic by Image Comics have already experienced the shocking death, while viewers of the TV show have yet to witness the brutal scene. But the chances of the victim being the same in both the comic and the show are slim, since that would eliminate the shock value the show is hoping to achieve.

With the premiere just around the corner, fans are preparing themselves for the emotional onslaught that is sure to be delivered. After years of watching our heroes scavenge for supplies and fight off foes, we must now part with one of the core characters.

Will it be Carl, who has grown up in an unforgiving world where he’s been shot twice as a child? Perhaps it’ll be Abraham, who’s mission to protect Eugene ended in a lie. Or maybe Glenn’s journey from pizza boy to warrior will come to a close.

Regardless of who meets the business end of that bat, viewers have watched as these characters were forced to grow tough and resourceful in a society without laws and technology. They bartered food supplies and labor with other communities in lieu of money, which no longer carried value in the apocalyptic future created within the show. Food, weapons, and skills instead became the most valuable commodities.

Looking at the distant past, there was a similar primitive system of exchange before the creation of paper money. The oldest record of a monetary system dates back to 1700 BC, describing weighed amounts of silver as currency. But while a metallic monetary system is likely around 4,500 years old, the origin of money and trade is far older.

Money is simply defined as a medium through which two parties agree on an exchange. Before the metallic monetary system was developed, civilizations around the world engaged in bartering as a form of money. For instance, a maker of tools might exchange wares for livestock. The units of value used for this type of trading varied by region, some of which included shells, stones, whale teeth, grain, cattle, feathers, and bits of precious metals (which was not yet molded into coins).

shutterstock_360797552Eventually, many cultures adopted the practice of making coins of gold, silver, and bronze. This monetary system was used both domestically and for international trade. For years, precious metal currency remained dominant. Civilizations developed new technologies to mine for metals and create coins. Paper money first appeared in China around 618 AD and began catching on in Europe in the 17th century. Much of this money was backed by stashes of gold as a form of regulating the economy, a standard which ended in the US in 1931. More recently, fiat money-paper money that is not backed by gold or other metals-became the dominant currency.

Though the chances of a zombie apocalypse wiping out the value of fiat money is unlikely, the fickleness of this type of currency has led many people to invest in precious metal bullion. For zombie fan investors, the Provident Zombucks series is a perfect addition to your collection. Playfully called the currency of the apocalypse, this series features 10 zombie-themed silver rounds. Buy the whole set or select your favorite pieces.

Are you gearing up to watch The Walking Dead premiere next week? We want to hear from you. Someone has to die at Negan’s hand. Who do you think is going to meet their end? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below! (No spoilers from fans who have read the comics!)

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