International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Money in Nigeria Market Driven Economy: Iron, the Antecedent to Paper Money
Adebowale Biodun AREO, PhD

The concept of inflation is a global phenomenon that is strictly money based, and which has been defined by economist as too much money chasing too few goods. However, considering that the development of paper money is comparatively recent, only few people recollects the antecedents of monetary systems and the process of purchasing and exchanges in Nigeria in time past. Exchanges in moneyless economy in Nigeria involved the use of bulky objects such as cowries, beads, stick tally, textiles, tobacco, gin iron hoes, bars and manilas of various shapes, sizes and weights. These forms of exchange were observed to be cumbersome and probably led to the production of lighter and handy, legal tender documents called paper money. Literature on the use of iron as money in any economy is scarce. This paper is an attempt to historically elucidate the function of iron among many others as money in the Nigerian pre-colonial economy. The paper also highlights the socio-cultural uses of iron and steel in Nigeria within the period under review.

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