"A classic question in the theory of money is how an intrinsically useless object like fiat money can possess exchange value. The modern theory of money has essentially settled on the answer first provided by Ostroy (1973). In a nutshell, circumstances may dictate that some objects are relative good for record-keeping purposes, quite apart from any other use they may have in consumption, production, or storage; see also, Kocherlakota (1998).
The basic idea is as follows. We know that monetary exchange is not necessary, even in economies where mutually beneficial bilateral barter exchanges do not exist (what economists clumsily call a lack of double coincidence of wants). This is not simply a theoretical statement; we know of (and indeed most of us belong to) small economies (networks of families and friends) that operate according to “gift giving” principles. We are willing to make individual sacrifices without monetary compensation, hoping that they will be noticed, remembered, and most importantly, reciprocated at some point in the future"..............READ MORE