Money Should Be Boring

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This Huffington Post story about changing the look of American currency has got to be the most absurd and ridiculous I have seen in years.  Forget about raising any questions about legal tender and whether the state should have a monopoly in the issuance of money.  Leave aside any grave or suspicious doubts about sinister or duplicitous motives behind this effort.  Put aside any innumerable “conspiracy theories” which immediately come to mind.  The facts are simply this:  When it comes to money and its appearance, people around the world for hundreds of years have been consistent.  They want money to be immutable, standardized and reliable.   They want a medium of exchange which is familiar in appearance, safe and secure.  Gold and silver coins served these functions for centuries.  The United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing recently finished redesigning the portraits on American currency over the past fifteen years or so, in a very conservative manner, adding features such as color-shifting ink, micro-printing, security threads, and water marks to the new U. S. bills.  People do not want bold innovative designs which challenge the imagination, are easy to mistake for counterfeit notes, and resemble a child’s play money or “Monopoly” money.   The appearance and tactile feel of currency should be a no-brainer as it changes hands each day.  Money should be boring.

4:30 pm on September 18, 2010