Friday, October 19, 2007

American Money

Kelly was having a hard time understanding how much each American coin was worth. It never occurred to me how badly designed the US coins are until I saw her confusion. Now where on a quarter, dime or nickel does it say many cents it is worth.

The quarter says QUARTER DOLLAR but if you have no idea what a QUARTER is, then you have no idea how many cents it is worth.

The dime says ONE DIME. Not helpful if you don't know what a DIME is.

The nickel says FIVE CENTS. Not helpful if you don't know English and do not know what FIVE means.

The penny says ONE CENT. Not helpful if you don't know English.

Canadian coins say 1 cent, 5 cents, 10 cents and 25 cents.

Malaysian coins say 1, 5, 10, 20, 50.

Another problem is that the US nickel is larger and thicker than the penny and dime. The penny is also bigger than the dime.

In every other country I've visited, the coins increase size and thickness with value.

American dollar bills are finally starting to get some color. Every other country I have visited has colored dollar bills. They can also vary in size and texture.

Malaysia money has one of the most advanced dollar bills in the world. There are numerous ways you can check a bill to see if it is real. They are all different sizes and textures. The Five dollar bill has a window you can see through and has a smooth plastic feel to it.

All Malaysian bills are the same height but their length increases with value.

RM 1 = 12 cm long
RM 5 = 13.5 cm long
RM 10 = 14 cm long
RM 50 = 14.5 cm long
RM 100 = 15 cm long


RM 1 is blue
RM 5 is green
RM 10 is orange
RM 50 is blue/green
RM 100 is green/orange

Every year they upgrade their money. The newest bills have a metallic hologram strip. They embed metallic shiny fibers. They have blank areas for water marks which show up when held up to the light. The thickness of the paper increases as the value increases.

Although Malaysia is behind the first world in most ways, they are ahead in some like money. This can be said of many third world countries. They have the opportunity to leap frog first world countries. First world countries can have slow progress because it is too expensive to change for example if the US changed all of its coins, all coin operated machines would need to be changed. The same problem exists with changing the paper money. The machines that read dollar bills would need updating.

Why hasn't the US converted to Metric yet? Money. It's too expensive to change.

Malaysia has National ID cards with computer chips in them. When the US tried to do this, there was a lot of resistance. People resist change in the first world. In the third world, people crave change. They want things to change for the better but in the first world they want things to stay the same.

Prediction of the day: Eventually we will have no third or forth world countries. Everyone will essentially be a first world country. This may take another 500 to 1000 years, but I believe it will happen.

Prediction two: Coins and paper money will also disappear and our own bodies will be used to identify who we are. We will use various ways to identify ourselves like finger prints, eye scans, voice print, etc. along with a password, to pay for things. The transition to using such a system 100% will be slow and probably take 1000 years but I think it will happen.

I only wish I could live forever to see these changes!