Wednesday, May 5, 2010

History: It Only Looks Like Monopoly Money

Americans like to say that Canadian money looks like Monopoly money because it isn't as drab and dreary as their own currency. In this case it turns out that Americans are behind the times and not being modern for regardless of the continuous forward march of progress Americans don't want to give up plain green money.

Even the newly announced 100 dollar bill is no improvement. Almost all the added colour is just on specific anti-counterfeiting measures. So far the biggest online controversy about the new bill is related to typography. Yes... people are complaining about helvetica on the money.

The rest of the world is leaving America in the dust when it comes to currency design. Don't just use colour to prevent counterfeiting. Why not use colour to great effect? I suppose since it is the still the de facto currency of the world America wants the dollar to seem solid, old, and unchanging. I wonder if the designs will change more radically if the Euro becomes the new currency of world trade?

Americans don't get to see too much international currency every day of course. Most of us see only our own currency. As America's biggest trading partner it's not surprising that Canadian currency is the foreign currency most often encountered by Americans. That's why only the Canadian dollar gets the nickname of Monopoly money.

Turns out the Canadian dollar hasn't always been that colourful. The Bank of Canada has a free book on the History of the Canadian Dollar. It touches on the history of currency in Canada, the history of the Bank of Canada, and the ever changing link between the Canadian dollar and other currencies. Foreign exchange and monetary issues are covered in summary throughout the book. This isn't a photo history of Canadian currency. It's a more general history.

What's interesting is how something as seemingly simple as the history of one country's money has to involve everything from world affairs, wars, and politics. Whether greenbacks, monopoly money, the yen, or the Euro it's all interrelated and interconnected.

No one has a monopoly on money anymore.

1 comment:

Lene Andersen said...

I love the the US introduces a new bill with all sorts of inspirational and stirring TA-DA music. Made me laugh.

And that last sentence's a groaner..