What is currency good for?

by on December 17, 2005 at 7:58 am in Current Affairs | Permalink

Think of having a fun dinner with friends at a nice restaurant, and
then hand over to the waiter a 200-Francs bill representing the AIDS
virus.

This is on track to happen in Switzerland, although the central bank still has veto rights.  Read more here, plus there are pictures.  Swiss currency has long been my favorite, with the Euler bill holding pride of place.  Here are other bills with physicists and mathematicians.

The more general question is what images on currency should be used for.  I see a few options:

1. Prettiness.  Even better would be increasing prettiness.  If the demand for money increases over time, we may approximate Milton Friedman’s optimum quantity of money.

2. Boosting patriotic feeling and national unity.

3. Reminding people of unpleasant truths; perhaps this is the motivation behind the use of the AIDS virus.  How many lives would this save, and is this reason enough to do it?  Are you supposed to think of AIDS when you pull out bills to pay your Swiss male prostitute?  Should Indonesia try dead chickens?

4. Artistic merit.  Gilbert Stuart was in fact a very good painter, even if most people do not appreciate him.

5. Supplying images which are sold at P > MC or otherwise restricted, thereby moving us closer to an optimum.  Any examples here?  Actresses who did nude shots only in the early parts of their careers?

6. Signaling the nature of your national character to foreigners.  This helps them decide where to migrate, or perhaps deters them from attacking your country.

7. Political advertising for current candidates.  I recall reading that Hitler was on every German stamp in the late 1930s.

8. Maps or something else practical.  Multiplication tables?  Translations of key words, especially if the country is multilingual?

9. Short pithy sayings by Milton Friedman, such as "Inflation is at all times and everywhere a monetary phenomenon".

10. Honoring great achievers from the past, so as to encourage more fame-seeking in the future.  (Does a little birdie on your currency mean your country pretends to be egalitarian?)

11. Appeasing unruly minorities and ethnic groups.

12. Silvio Gesell wished to stamp and tax currency so as to keep the velocity of circulation high.  A currency which falls apart would serve much the same function.

My least favorite currency is the Euro, which seems to signify virtually nothing; perhaps this is appropriate.  I miss the old French money and its inability to fit inside any kind of reasonable wallet.

Thanks to http://kottke.org for the pointer; comments are open.

1 Max December 17, 2005 at 9:21 am

> My least favorite currency is the Euro, which seems to signify virtually nothing; perhaps this is appropriate.

Yes, indeed, because it stands for the post-modern idea of standing for nothing. That’s why such beautiful no-brainer motives have been placed on the euro (which I personally would burn first and reintroduce the German Mark ;)). There is nothing to identify with, because these motives hold dear no values, none at all. So, it is oddly representative for the European Union, which is a socialist construct that tries not to identify with any of its member nations, but instead to meet on “common ground”: Nothingness.

Sorry, for the overly sarcastic tone, but the EU and the Euro have fed me up since they got introduced (I lost 50% of my money, so I have a right to be a bit disappointed).

2 michael e vassar December 17, 2005 at 10:35 am

Kazakhstan does a good job at 1, 10, and 12.

3 Anthony Riordan December 17, 2005 at 11:49 am

It is amazing to watch money evolve from worthwhile to worthless.
The United States is running the country on borrowed money. People are
not succeeding in life, they are buying success and going
bankrupt because they are not following any restraint or fear of
loss. Their is always cheaper money to buy in the US. This is so
dangerous and I believe the value of the US dollar would crash if
the actual value that is placed on our own currency was understood by the
rest of the world. Their is no value to US money within the US
only two generations of credit card holders. Money is what you earn
to pay the banks that help you buy success. Thoughts for a future Dollar
that will have to crash sooner or later

4 Evan December 17, 2005 at 5:48 pm

Totally mystified as to what you mean by “appeasing unruly minorities and ethnic groups” in reference to the images on the New Zealand currency.

Apirana Ngata is a very strange choice to appeal to “unruly” or radical groups, as he worked through that most conservative of institutions; the parliamentary system.

Moreover, there’s been a long tradition in New Zealand of co-opting Maori symbols and art to distinguish Pakeha culture from other parts of the Anglo world. That is a better explanation for the carving designs on the coins than any idea that “unruly” Maori would somehow be bought off by having symbols on a coin.

5 Thaddeus McMonster December 17, 2005 at 8:24 pm

The one thing they should definately do is make different denominations different sizes and/or textures, for the benefit of blind people.

6 Robert Schwartz December 19, 2005 at 12:56 am

The new US bills always look like somebody spilled juice on them.

7 Netpowersoft December 24, 2005 at 9:12 am

Our team at netpowersoft studied what a loan seeker want from the internet.

Which will provide you the human edited information in most relavent and organised way.
We have gone though companies who deals with loan and mortgage stuff.

Have a nice time..
🙂
Home Equity Loan
http://www.loanskey.com

8 æ°´æ— ç—• July 4, 2007 at 5:12 am
9 hyangel July 13, 2007 at 2:14 am

houyuping 07年7月13日

google排名
google排名
wow gold
wow gold
powerleveling
powerleveling
wow powerleveling
wow powerleveling
wow power leveling
wow power leveling
power leveling
power leveling
wow power level
wow power level
Ddo plat
Ddo plat
FFXI Gil
FFXI Gil
GW Gold
GW Gold
GW Power Leveling
GW Power Leveling
RS Gold
RS Gold

RS Power Leveling
RS Power Leveling
Lotro Gold
Lotro Gold
Lotro Power leveling
Lotro Power leveling
翻译公司
翻译公司
上海翻译公司
上海翻译公司
北京翻译公司
北京翻译公司
监控
货架
货架
货架
涂层测厚仪
涂层测厚仪
翻译公司
仓库
仓库
仓库出租
仓库出租
物流园区
物流园区
红外测温仪
红外测温仪

超声波测厚仪
超声波测厚仪
超声波探伤仪
超声波探伤仪
频闪仪
频闪仪
涂层测厚仪
涂层测厚仪
电火花检测仪
电火花检测仪
google排名
门禁
门禁
门禁系统
门禁系统
搬家
搬家公司
北京搬家公司
光盘制作
光盘印刷
光盘印刷
搬家公司
激光打标机
搬家公司
北京搬家公司
hongkong hotel
hongkong hotel
beijing tour
beijing tour
集团电话
集团电话
wow power leveling
wow power leveling
wow powerleveling
wow powerleveling
wow power level
wow power level
china tour
china tour
青春痘
青春痘

摆闸
痤疮
痤疮
色斑
色斑
黄褐斑
黄褐斑
青春痘
青春痘
口腔医生
口腔医生
口腔
口腔
口腔医院
口腔医院
口腔科
口腔科
三星集团电话机
呼叫中心
电话交换机
交换机
呼叫中心
测厚仪
测温仪
停车场
道闸

10 xdrs July 24, 2007 at 1:37 am

liying 07年7月24日

google排名
google排名
wow gold
wow gold
wow gold
wow gold
powerleveling
powerleveling
wow power leveling
wow power leveling
wow powerleveling
wow powerleveling
world of warcraft powerleveling
world of warcraft powerleveling
world of warcraft power leveling
world of warcraft power leveling
hong kong hotel
hong kong hotel
beijing tour
beijing tour
rolex replica
rolex replica
翻译公司
翻译公司
上海翻译公司
上海翻译公司
门禁
北京翻译公司
北京翻译公司
google排名

超声波探伤仪
超声波探伤仪
物流园区
物流园区
搬家公司
搬家公司
北京搬家公司
搬家
搬家公司
搬家公司
北京搬家公司
北京搬家公司
beijing
beijing
china tour
china tour
great wall
beijing travel
beijing travel
china tour
china tour
网站设计
多媒体
货架
货架
货架
光盘制作
光盘制作
摆闸
痤疮
痤疮
色斑
色斑
黄褐斑
黄褐斑
青春痘
青春痘
电话交换机
交换机
呼叫中心
测厚仪
测温仪
停车场
道闸

11 xdrs July 25, 2007 at 10:27 pm

liying 07年7月26日

google排名
google排名
wow gold
wow gold
wow gold
wow gold
powerleveling
powerleveling
wow power leveling
wow power leveling
wow powerleveling
wow powerleveling
world of warcraft powerleveling
world of warcraft powerleveling
world of warcraft power leveling
world of warcraft power leveling
hong kong hotel
hong kong hotel
beijing tour
beijing tour
rolex replica
rolex replica
翻译公司
翻译公司
上海翻译公司
上海翻译公司
门禁
北京翻译公司
北京翻译公司
google排名

超声波探伤仪
超声波探伤仪
物流园区
物流园区
搬家公司
搬家公司
北京搬家公司
搬家
搬家公司
搬家公司
北京搬家公司
北京搬家公司
beijing
beijing
china tour
china tour
great wall
beijing travel
beijing travel
china tour
china tour
网站设计
多媒体
货架
货架
货架
光盘制作
光盘制作
摆闸
痤疮
痤疮
色斑
色斑
黄褐斑
黄褐斑
青春痘
青春痘
电话交换机
交换机
呼叫中心
测厚仪
测温仪
停车场
道闸

12 Missliang August 16, 2007 at 2:56 am

houyuping 07年8月16日

wow gold
wow gold
wow power leveling
wow power leveling
wow powerleveling
wow powerleveling
world of warcraft powerleveling
world of warcraft powerleveling
world of warcraft power leveling
world of warcraft power leveling
powerleveling
powerleveling
wow powerleveling
wow powerleveling
wow power leveling
wow power leveling
power leveling
power leveling
wow power level
wow power level
china tour
china tour

翻译公司
翻译公司
上海翻译公司
上海翻译公司
北京翻译公司
北京翻译公司
监控
货架
鼓风机
风机
风机
涂层测厚仪
涂层测厚仪
红外测温仪
红外测温仪
超声波测厚仪
超声波测厚仪
超声波探伤仪
超声波探伤仪
频闪仪
频闪仪
涂层测厚仪
涂层测厚仪
电火花检测仪
电火花检测仪

google排名
门禁
门禁
门禁系统
门禁系统
搬家
搬家公司
北京搬家公司
光盘制作
光盘印刷
光盘印刷
搬家公司
激光打标机
搬家公司
北京搬家公司
hongkong hotel
hongkong hotel
beijing tour
beijing tour
集团电话
集团电话
china tour
china tour
青春痘
青春痘

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: