WASHINGTON, August 10, 2015 – Sunday afternoon, after a sturdy meal topped off with a hunk of apple pie the size of Guam, I tilted back in my recliner to peruse the news on my trusty laptop. Just as my eyelids began to make their final descent I was jolted out of my approaching postprandial coma by a story in the New York Times:
LONDON — Though paper money here typically bears the visage of Queen Elizabeth, the Brixton district of the city last month released a new 5-pound note designed by Jeremy Deller, an artist who won the prestigious Turner Prize in 2004. It features a fuzzy, psychedelic image of an androgynous face surrounded by rainbow clouds and coruscating, swirling etchings.
So British private citizens are printing their own money harum-scarum, I thought to myself in disgust. It figures.
But my smug attitude was soon shattered as I finished the post.
Right here in the good ol’ USA, in the region of Great Barrington, Mass, solid citizens are using funny money called BerkShares to purchase everything from bandoline to bumbo.
The article took great pains in listing all the benefits to the local economy of using this so-called ‘secondary currency’, without bothering to explain how the heck you do it without a federally-funded vacation to Sing Sing.
I find it outrageous.
Let them mess with make-you-own postage stamps, but when folks start pumping out watercolors of turnips as the real financial deal I have to draw the line.
It was bad enough when this whole bitcoin monkey business started up a few years ago — now I’m going to have to deal with complementary currencies like Chiemgauer?
We Americans don’t like anyone fooling around with our currency. Case in point, from a Hawaiin currency and coin website:
In January 1942, one month after Pearl Harbor was bombed, the U.S. government, fearing enemy invasion, announced that “New Money” was on its way. Specially imprinted notes became the only legal tender and had no value outside Hawai’i. The new money consisted of $1, $5, $10 and $20 denominations. Brown seals and serial numbers replaced the green and blue ones and the word HAWAII appeared twice on the front and once really big across the back. The ‘old’ money would no longer be legal tender in Hawai’i. Due to citizen resistance, it took 27 months to complete the transition and to have the new money in circulation. The government appointed a special committee to dispose of some 200 million dollars of old money. The enormous quantity of notes was hauled to the Aiea Sugar Mill on Oahu and incinerated.
Don’t mess with our dead presidents — that’s all I have to say on the subject.