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Money: Its Characteristics & Universal Acceptability

Why is universal acceptability such an important characteristic of money? What other characteristics can you think of that might be important to market participants? What do you think might happen if we go away from money to a total electronic payment system? Discuss.

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Hello Student,

The first thing you may want to note before answering these questions is the definition of money and what are some of the primary characteristics of money. Money is generally defined as a medium of exchange or any object used as a means of payment for goods or services or in settlement of debt. There are a number of characteristics of money and these include but are not limited to:

1) Durability - Anything that is considered as money should be, "an item that retains the same shape, form, and substance over an extended period of time; that is, it should not easily decompose, deteriorate, degrade, or otherwise change form." Money should therefore have the ability to be used more than one/few times without getting damaged or distracted.

2) Portability or Transportability - Anything considered as money should be able to be easily moved from one location to another (when such movement is needed to complete exchanges) without much effort. You may note that, "in past people used stones as money which took effort to be transported but in modern days money is carried from one place to another with less effort where a wallet can carry any type of money including, notes, coins and debit cards."

3) Divisibility - Money should have the ability to be divided into small units of account based on a standardized method. Also, "for an item to function as the medium of exchange, which can be used to purchase a wide range of different goods with a wide range of different values, then it must be divisible. The smaller the divisions, the better."

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Solution Summary

This solution provides information about money and the various characteristics of money. It gives a number of reasons why universal acceptability may be considered as the most important characteristic of money; it also tells the other characteristics of money that might be more important to market participants; and, possible outcomes (and benefits) of what might happen if the world was to move to a total electronic payment system.