Friday, April 14, 2006

Early money problems for the colonies

In honor of tax day, an early look at money problems for the colonists:

History of Colonial Money (pdf)

The whole system was off to a rough start:

The lack of coins and currency forced the colonists to barter. The English leaders felt that colonial exports, such as animal skins, dried fish, and tobacco, should be paid for in English goods. Colonial exports would be accepted in return for an equal value of such goods as fabrics, window panes, pewter dishes, and mirrors. This barter arrangement - an exchange of goods or services without using money - seemed ideal to the British but was increasingly unpopular with the colonists, who preferred coin for their exports to gain more independence over their buying power.

I'm afraid that in some ways, we're still looking for more independence over our buying power.

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