Currency Denomination Vs Price of Goods

Writing about web page http://www.businessballs.com/moneyslanghistory.htm

I’d like to preface this potentially dumb question by saying that I am no kind of economist…

But, having finally got round to filling in my expenses claim for my trip to Mauritius three things occurred to me:

  1. I didn’t spend very much
  2. I got a lot of bank notes when I exchanged my travellers cheques (some in denominations as high as 10,000 Mauritian rupees)
  3. I am left with an awful lot of very small change (including half rupees)

Does it follow that countries with high denominations of currency have cheaper goods?

My logic is that you wouldn’t need a half rupee coin unless you could buy something with it…

Then I was reminded of a passage in George Orwell’s Keep the Aphidistra Flying when the anti-hero (Gordon Comstock) complains about the uselessness of a joey (a brass threepenny bit).

He explains that it alone is useless because you can’t spend it as the shopgirl would know that it is all you have left.

Silver
threepenny coins were first introduced in the mid-1500’s but were not
popular nor minted in any serious quantity for general circulation
until around 1760, because people preferred the fourpenny groat. The
silver threepence was effectively replaced by the brass-nickel
threepenny bit from 1937 to 1945, which was the last minting of the
silver version.

Once the glass door of a Lyons swung open, letting out a wave of hot cake-scented air. It almost overcame him. After all, why NOT
go in? You could sit there for nearly an hour. A cup of tea twopence,
two buns a penny each. He had fourpence halfpenny, counting the Joey.
But no! That bloody Joey! The girl at the cash desk would titter. In a
vivid vision he saw the girl at the cash desk, as she handled his
threepenny-bit, grin sidelong at the girl behind the cake-counter.
They’d KNOW it was your last threepence. No use. Shove on. Keep moving.

Read more at http://www.george-orwell.org/Keep_the_Aspidistra_Flying/4.html

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Comments
One Response to “Currency Denomination Vs Price of Goods”
  1. Max Hammond says:

    For a moment, I thought that was the VC on that top note!

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