(Music) Host: Gold or silver never played much of
a role in China. The all-powerful government just issued simple tokens with no value, made
of brass or copper, usually known as “cash.” (Music) They had a square hole in the middle so that
up to hundreds could be strung together. They were worn around the waist, and could get
super heavy. Probably easier just to draw a picture of
the money, right? After all, the tokens were just that: a symbol, like a voucher. And a
single drawing could stand for 1,000 or even 10,000 coins. Paper money! Invented, controlled
and printed- by the Chinese government. (Music) Of course today, everyone prints paper money.
Governments have declared that the money they print is “legal tender,” which means that
buyers and sellers have no choice but to use it. And for better or worse, governments control it. In the United States, we print our money on
presses that run 24/7 in Washington, D.C. Right here at the Bureau of Engraving and
Printing, at the direction of the Federal Reserve. And we print lots of it — hundreds
of millions of dollars in currency each and every day.