Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Shanghai Diary: The Numismatist's Dilemma

I've gotten very few coins while I'm here. I occasionally get a 1RMB coin and sometimes a coin that says "5" and one that says "1" on it. The 1 is .1 RMB so I imagine that the 5 is .5 RMB.

Another thing to love about China is that prices are pretty much just in RMB without any coins. It's rare that I'm paying for things and get a .1 or .5 coin back.

And, get this America... The .1 is smaller than the .5 coin! Imagine that! And, they have numbers on them! Crazy, right? It's not like a dime which doesn't say 10 on it anywhere and that's significantly smaller than a penny! This lack of enumeration and the disparity between size and value makes American money incredibly difficult for foreign people (and kids) to understand. Same even goes for our paper money. There's no color or size differentiation. Why is a $100 exactly the same dimensions as a $1?

American money is so far over-due for a face-lift, it's not even funny.

We've had changes to our bills but it's still the same old white men staring back at us. And some of the biggest anti-counterfeit things seem to happen on our $100 US and $50 US bills. I don't know about you but having one of those in my wallet is something of a rarity. Meanwhile, tin-foil hat-wearing Americans think that the anti-counterfeit strip in our money is a tracking device.

Americans are living under the delusion of privacy. We are either being tracked or could be tracked with ease. Over here in China, everyone knows that everything is tracked. I mean, again, almost every transaction can be done via the phone and the companies that run those apps are in bed with the government. Hell, the government gave them breaks in order to get the readers and acceptance of those payment methods in place. And they gave breaks to consumers to use them. Even a couple RMB back can make a huge difference, especially when everyone is hustling to make a .1 RMB.

Since I was a kid, the US Mint has tried time and again to introduce and re-introduce a dollar coin. Of course, there was the unwieldy Eisenhower Dollar which came out the year before I was born. Before that was the Peace Dollar. However, after Eisenhower was the disastrous Susan B. Anthony dollar which I remember being decried for -- get this -- being bad because blind people would mix it up for a quarter. Now, I know that's a valid concern but that is a very odd concern for sighted people to have. More than anything, I think it was an excuse being used to cover up that people didn't like having a woman on their money. Same goes for the Sacagawea dollar.

Canadians have been using loonies and toonies for decades and they seem to be doing okay. Likewise, they eliminated pennies in favor of a round-up / round down methodology that would probably cause riots in the U.S. "How dare you cheat me out of my two cents!"

Meanwhile, efforts to give a facelift to the $20 US have stalled yet again. Not only is this a gynophobic thing, but there's also racism involved. At least, that's like my opinion, man.

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