Money before coinage. History of pre-columbian currency


  • Rafael Antonio Rivera Solórzano Universidad Francisco Marroquín de Guatemala.



It’s well known that Carl Menger, one the most remarkable con-tributors on economic theory, and father of the Austrian School of Economics, devoted a great part of his career to research money origins. According to his studies, money, just as language and eco-nomics came from a spontaneous order, otherwise known as a creation of human interaction, yet not of human design. This means that money didn’t originate from a decree, neither was an invention of a king or governor, but it comes from the regular com-munication between individuals, to satisfy a need.

Needless to be said, the necessity of exchange has continuously been present on mankind; facilitating the satisfaction of the infinite human desires. Yet coinage was not present in humanity until the VIth century B.C. in Europe and XVth century A.C. in America1 when Spaniards arrived. Then how could civilizations without a well-developed coinage system progress? The purpose of this paper is to prove and show how the Mayan monetary system could work with-out a coinage system, and how efficient this civilization was solving problems commonly found in barter and commodity money, which were their leading means in commerce.


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How to Cite

Solórzano, R. A. R. . (2016). Money before coinage. History of pre-columbian currency. REVISTA PROCESOS DE MERCADO, 13(2), 411–427.