Paper currency is the original barbarous relic

While John Maynard Keynes may have famously—but not originally—called the gold standard a barbarous relic, many centuries ago in China gold supplanted paper currency, not the other way around.

According to the blog Mao Money, Mao Problems, the ruling class in the Middle Kingdom was using silk and plain cloth for payments eight centuries before Christ.

During Spring-Autumn times [771-475 BC], silk and plain cloth were important instruments for making payments, especially within the ruling class.  Large amounts of these commodities were used during late Zhou.  The Sons of Heaven [Zhou kings] gave them as rewards to retainers. [23]  The nobles employed them as tributes to the Son of Heaven. [24] According to tradition, Yu and the nobles carried jade and cloth from Tu Mountain to the multitude of states.

Gold came into its own several centuries later when people saw it as an ideal instrument for storing value.

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Image of an old priest near Taiyuan, Shanxi