The French gave up their Franc, The Germans their Deutschmark and even the British replaced their trusty pound notes for coins, so why can’t the Americans say goodbye to their antiquated Dollar bill? Five times the US Fed have tried to replace the US Dollar bill with a simple round coin, very much like the ones used in Canada and in Europe for the past decades, and each time they have failed. Currently the US mint has more than 1 billion USD coins in stock that are not going anywhere.
I even heard one journalist say that the coins will be very likely melted down to be turned into souvenirs. In these austere times, the savings are estimated to be around $184 million Dollars per year, over 30 years! (according to a GAO, US Government Accountability Office white paper)
Apparently every change resistant argument has been raised, including the cost of coin machine adaptation and the breaking of a trusted tradition. But more worryingly even a two times ‘entertainer of the year’ (striptease artist) ‘Tiffany’ joined in the debate, obtaining FOX TV coverage stating that coins would be too uncomfortable and dangerous if everyone placed them where they used to place the bills or threw them onto the stage! Apparently now they even have a new line of attack: the legality of the coin itself. It seems that they may contain base metals coming from illegal Cuban nickel mines!
When I hear all this, I wonder is this not change resistance for resistance sake or is there something much deeper going on? And then I remind myself that the nearer any change is to our cultural identity, the more resistant we are to it. And as one BBC financial commentator recently stated, he believed that the resistance was probably more linked to the philanthropic culture of Americans who prefer to say “keep the change” rather than walk around with uncomfortable coins jangling in their pockets or misshaping their Louis Vuitton purses.
So maybe my example is not one of Americans being stubborn but rather one of clear vision and logic and that their resistance to their beloved Dollar bill makes some kind of sense after all?
Have a good week,