From: David Cake (email@example.com)
Date: Thu 25 May 1995 - 08:24:43 EEST
> Counterfeits comprised an essential part of the monetary
>system. When coins went out of fashion, and people started using
>metal by weight, the system collapsed, professional armies became
>impossible to maintain (can't do it on a barter economy), and
I just read an excellent excerpt from the travels of Marco Polo, where he talks about the Chinese Emperor making paper money (stamped with an official seal, penalty for counterfeiting extremely painful death). Marco is quite amazed at the idea - imagine, people give the Emperor really valuable things, and he just gives them back little bits of paper, amazing, he must be so rich! He certainly perceives its value, but is rather confused about why it works.
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