Monkey prostitution

Monkeys wise up and get the hang of money

When primates were taught to use currency, an age-old deal took place

Long ago Adam Smith, the founder of classical economics, observed: “Nobody ever saw a dog make a fair and deliberate exchange of one bone for another with another dog. Nobody ever saw one animal by its gestures and natural cries signify to another, this is mine, that yours; I am willing to give this for that.”

Smith was certain that humankind alone had a knack for monetary exchange. But was he right? Keith Chen, an associate professor of economics at Yale, asked himself: what would happen if I could teach a bunch of monkeys to use money?

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