Monday, May 19, 2008

A Half-a-Billion Dollar Bill?

Yes, that's what you read, a dollar bill that is denominated as $500,000,000.

It was issued and printed in Zimbabwe where they also call their currency the "dollar." It's worth about $2.03 US dollars. (Source.)

Here's a picture of an earlier note for Z$50,000,000 first issued in April of this year:

[Thanks to for the photo.]

Here's a translation of the original Reuters article in a French newspaper called Liberation:

"It would be funny if it wasn't tragic: Zimbabwe just placed in circulation a new bank note for a value of half a billion Zimbabwean dollars. The new note, put into circulation a mere ten days after two others valued at 100 and 250 million dollars, is the fourth since the beginning of the year. The first, for a value of 50 million dollars, came out on April 2.

"Formerly the wheat basket of the region, Zimbabwe has been floundering for eight years in an unprecedented economic recession, marked by record hyperinflation approaching 165%, according to the latest figures published in February."

A loaf of bread in Zimbabwe cost $16 million in April. Now it is probably double that.

Well, don't laugh. That's what happens when a nation doesn't respect its monetary unit and tries to use it as funny money. (See my original posts for economics lessons on this subject.)

You may think that the US is immune to this threat, but think again. We may be less disrespectful than Mr. Mugabe of the people's money, but I note symptoms of the disease even at our own central bank, the Federal Reserve.

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Blogger Lloyd Gillespie - Comments said...

Keep up the great posts, Sybil. At least there's a few sensible heads still left in the world...

at Macromouse

10:27 AM  

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