Monday, April 16, 2018

No Coins, Please*

I recall someone coming on afternoon TV - Merv Griffin or something - before 1970, advocating that we get rid of the penny. Everything could be rounded up or rounded down. People's objections were mostly irrational, believing that the pennies they had thrown into jugs, or obtained by children for returning soda bottles, or found on the street, would somehow no longer be honored, and society would collapse. For no reason that is not easily answered in fifteen seconds, we continue to have pennies. 

Whoever Merv was interviewing then was right. Since that time, inflation has made dimes worth just about what pennies were then.  So pennies, nickels, and dimes should be gone.  No one uses dollar or half-dollar coins, generally, so we have already demonstrated we could do without them.  Yes, the Brits have a coin worth a pound, and somehow they have adapted and we theoretically could as well, but somehow we haven't.

That leaves the quarter.  We have logically eliminated the need to use the other coins. So,  is it worth still having coinage if there is only one type of coin? Maybe. But with machines reading dollar bills and parking meters accepting your credit card, I'm going to go out on a limb and say we no longer need coins.

*Kiddie Lit reference. Every children's book by this author recommended.


james said...

Wouldn't that paralyze decision-making?

Roy Lofquist said...

There goes the NFL.

Unknown said...

But, but, but...what about the ubiquitous gum-ball machines, the trinket machines, all the various little mechanisms to entertain the toddler troops and their parents? Gotta' put quarters in them to get anything out.

Dan Kurt said...

Alexander Solzhenitsyn in one of his novels (I believe), probably Cancer Ward or First Circle, explains why a small value coin like the American penny is so important for a country. I think he used the kopek as the value. It would be worth tracking down as a counterweight to the post by AVI.

Dan Kurt

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Dan - Fascinating, as I have learned a great deal from Solzhenitsyn, and would take any opinion of his seriously. Do you recall why he thought it important? Presumably he thought it not a practical value, but a cultural, psychological, or spiritual value.

Dan Kurt said...

re: Solzhenitsyn & kopek

Read both books after finishing my last pos-doc circa December 1974 while on a vacation in Europe. Actually read First Circle twice as the American edition was such a terrible translation I just had to cleanse my mind reading the British translation. Forty four years is just too long to remember details of either book for me to intelligently comment on Solzhenitsyn's argument but I do remember being impressed by it. I can't get my hands on my copies of the books as they are in storage. I tried a few Google searches and came up empty. Your presumption (cultural, psychological, or spiritual value) is probably correct but my recall is to dim to be sure.

Dan Kurt

Assistant Village Idiot said...

It will come to you some time in the next few months now that it has been tickled.