Money and Banking - Introduction

Money is the commonly accepted medium of exchange. In an economy which consists of only one individual there cannot be any exchange of commodities and hence there is no role for money. Even if there are more than one individual but they do not take part in market transactions, such as a family living on an isolated island, money has no function for them. However, as soon as there are more than one economic agent who engage themselves in transactions through the market, money becomes an important instrument for facilitating these exchanges. Economic exchanges without the mediation of money are referred to as barter exchanges. However, they presume the rather improbable double coincidence of wants. Consider, for example, an individual who has a surplus of rice which she wishes to exchange for clothing. If she is not lucky enough she may not be able to find another person who has the diametrically opposite demand for rice with a surplus of clothing to offer in exchange. The search costs may become prohibitive as the number of individuals increases. Thus, to smoothen the transaction, an intermediate good is necessary which is acceptable to both parties. Such a good is called money. The individuals can then sell their produces for money and use this money to purchase the commodities they need. Though facilitation of exchanges is considered to be the principal role of money, it serves other purposes as well. Following are the main functions of money in a modern economy.

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