Money in War-Ravaged Iraq: Water, sheep, cigarettes

A marine stationed in Iraq describes the products used as money in the absence of fiat money. Villages use clean water, sheep, and cigarettes. They use sheep for large purchases and cigarettes for “small change.” The author did not specify the value of clean water compared to sheep and cigarettes.

Items were often priced in more than one commodity.  Just as merchants in developed countries take Visa or Mastercard, Iraqi merchants took water or sheep.

These three items became monies because they have value. If people in this area don’t wear gold jewelry, then gold may not be a good form of money because it is not valued by the local population.

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