We begin this chapter by looking at what makes something a money. Surprisingly, this is not straightforward: we will see that money has several attributes, and many different things can act as money. Then we look at what we can do with money. We use money to buy goods and services, we use money to buy other kinds of money, and we use money to buy money in the future. Before exploring the world of money, we need to make one clarification. In everyday language, if you bought a camera for $200 and sold it for $300, we would say that you made money from the deal. Economists, however, use the term money more precisely, in ways that we make clear in this chapter. An economist would say that your resale of the camera earned you income, and you received that income in the form of money.
 In Chapter 15 “The Global Financial Crisis”, we take up another aspect of this event: what it means for a country to disband its central bank and delegate monetary policy to a centralized entity.
9.1 What Is Money?
After you have read this section, you should be able to answer the following questions:
1. What gives money value? 2. What are the functions of money?
Take a look at some currency—a dollar bill, for example. It is nothing more than a piece of paper with writing on it. A very pretty piece of paper, perhaps, with fancy writing and some pictures, but it is still just a piece of paper. Yet people voluntarily give up valuable goods or services in exchange for pieces of paper. This is the mystery of money. The question motivating this chapter—why do people want money?—is a deep one. That may seem a surprising claim because obviously we all like having money. But questions that seem trivial sometimes provide insights into how the world works. If we can understand why people want these intrinsically worthless pieces of paper, then we can understand why money is valuable. And to understand why people want these pieces of paper, we need to know what people want to do with their money.