02
Feb
09

What’s 10^12 between friends?

From the title, you might suspect that this is a post about cosmology, perhaps something about relative distances of stars within the Milky Way.  You might instead suppose that it’s another post about hyperinflation in Zimbabwe.

No points for guessing.

Zimbabwe’s central bank has revalued its dollar again, cutting another 12 zeros off its currency in a bid to tame hyperinflation and avert economic collapse.

Good luck with that.  I’m not sure how chopping off twelve orders of magnitude is going to “tame hyperinflation” all by itself, but it probably has something to do with Keynesian multipliers.

(Hat tip: The Liberty Papers.  Their article’s a good read in itself; head on over and check it out.)

Edit: Changed title.  Seems WordPress can’t handle <sup> tags in certain places.

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6 Responses to “What’s 10^12 between friends?”


  1. 1 kbiel
    February 2, 2009 at 15:22

    It’s all about appearances. I’m waiting for the global warming climate change crowd to do the same thing. It’s easier for them to make their case they can state the temperature as 273.15 instead of 0 (or 32F).

  2. February 2, 2009 at 19:07

    So what looks worse: printing currency with fifteen zeros on it, or admitting that your currency is hyperinflated and making room for more?

    Maybe this is a cost-saving device on the part of the Zimbabwe mint: they’d need to strike new plates to print even larger denominations, but by revaluing every time they hit 10^15 or so they can reuse the old ones with minor modifications. (Edited: Oh, fer fuck’s sake, can’t I use <sup> tags in comments at least?)

  3. 3 kbiel
    February 2, 2009 at 21:16

    I don’t know. How do you revalue a fiat currency any way? I guess it’s easier in a country where the government owns the means of production, but don’t they actually have to produce something to value their currency against?

  4. February 2, 2009 at 22:36

    How do you revalue a fiat currency any way? I guess it’s easier in a country where the government owns the means of production, but don’t they actually have to produce something to value their currency against?

    It occurs to me that we’re falling into a rhetorical trap here. Zimbabwe hasn’t “revalued” its currency — the value of each token of currency stays the same whether you strike twelve zeros from it or not. What Zimbabwe has done is relabel its currency: what used to be called a “five trillion dollar note” is now called a “five dollar note”, but it’s worth precisely the same fraction of fuck-all under either name.

  5. 5 kbiel
    February 2, 2009 at 22:45

    Exactly, which is what brought my comment about the Kelvin vs. Celsius vs. Fahrenheit scale. Same intrinsic value, different scale. Except in their case, the scale means nothing because they may say a loaf of bread is worth $Z5 but the market will quickly revalue it to $Z5T and now they will have gone beyond hyper inflation to ludicrous inflation.

  6. 6 mobilecellphonereview
    February 3, 2009 at 20:25

    i agree with kbiel
    Regards,
    Mobilecellphonereview


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