Sunday, February 3, 2013

Rounding OUT the penny

Beginning this week Canadian currency will be penniless, or should I say, 'less the penny.' That's right the penny is passé, about to be rounded out of existence.

For many Canadians, the penny has so little value it's looked upon as an annoyance, an unnecessary weight, for me, a strange way to view money. For the Canadian Mint, the penny is worth less than it costs to make (currently 1.6 cents).

The beginning of the end of the penny is Monday, February 4th, though we have known about it for some time now.  On Monday the mint stops distribution and businesses are encouraged to round all cash transactions up or down to the nearest nickel. As a result the Canadian government will save about 0.004% of its total budgetary expenses by not producing pennies. Apparently they believe 'every penny counts,' a phrase also destined for extinction.

The rounding of cash transactions will likely end up costing everyone just a bit more. Think of how many prices currently end in the number NINE. Lots, it's a gimmick to get customers, so, no more 99 cent sales for CASH transactions. Will 99 cent sales be kept for non-cash transactions? Will that discourage cash transactions in favour of debit or credit? Or will businesses start pricing things that end with '2 cents' -  which will be rounded down to encourage cash transactions, to make people think they are getting a deal? Who knows?

Either way, this is inflationary, and of course it is inflation, the debasement of currency, that caused the disappearance of the penny.

Is this just a Canadian problem? No. The Americans are in the same boat, and according to some sources both the US penny and nickel are in jeopardy. Am I getting carried away when I worry about the revaluation of our money? Well, maybe not in the near future. The Canadian dollar has actually appreciated considerably in recent years compared to its American counterpart. But many think that the US dollar and Euro are doomed. We trade with them, how can we not be affected?

The lesson of history is that the fall of nations is presaged by the collapse of their currencies. It's happened over and over, no fiat currency has survived the foibles of corrupt government practices. This time it's our turn.        

1 comment:

  1. The averaged life span for fiat currencies is 40 years. The global reserve fiat US $ was launched August 1971. It is getting past its best before date.

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