Big Money

Fat dollar It seems most people agree that inflation ought to take a large portion of the blame for overpriced goods and services. A day's wages for a loaf of bread hasn't yet become reality, although the possibility becomes a bit easier to swallow with each trip to the supermarket. For those old enough to rememberbut not old enough to forgethow much they paid for their houses and cars in 1970, today's price tags are likely to induce laughter, followed by vomiting, and then death.

Fortunately, I was able to solve this problem over the weekend. Unlike the weekend solutions of others, mine won't increase our taxes or our debt. In fact, it's as easy as 123, or more accurately, ABC.

The trouble is in the way we think about money. We cling to the archaic belief that we own dollars and cents, even when reason and logic clearly point to the improbability of keeping bills and coins in a space the size of a credit card. Online banking only strengthens the case, because the idea of squeezing currency through the cables that connect your computer to the one at your bank is laughable, to put it politely. I won't even dignify the delusional thinking associated with sending money through a wireless connection.

By now, I'm sure you're asking yourself the very same questions that spawned my weekend epiphany.

1) What can I do to increase the value of something as intangible as money?

2) What's really in my cookie jar, then?

The answer to both questions, of course, is nothing at all. This is because the solution has nothing to do with money, and everything to do with numbersor more to the point, the lack thereof.

Since we have only nine digits from which to choose in our archaic base-10 numbering system, it's tempting to inflate those numbersthe number nine especiallybeyond their maximum recommended pressure. Eventually, they explode. This is why your cookie jar is empty, and it's also the reason for those vomit-inducing prices you see at the gas pump, and on the stickers of the vehicles at your local dealership.

What's needed, then, is a new way of expressing the expandability of money, without blowing any pressure seals in the process. Although the idea seems attractive at first, I don't think we should simply express our inflation values in pounds per square inch, because that would only create confusion with the British monetary system. Instead, I believe we ought to put our alphabet to better use.

Simply adding those 26 letters to our current, old-school currency numbering system would dramatically ease inflationary pressures. That frightening $7.00 price tag on a gallon of milk would become G14RW. A new car would cost YR2D2. Even that 14-bedroom villa you've had your eye on would only set you back a measly S4P12.

Anyway, you get the picture. When it comes to inflation, your money can never be big enough.



  1. I think your idea is brilliant! Certainly it would seamlessly integrate into this age of challenge-response tests (CAPTCHA programs) on websites. Not only might a villa cost S4P12, but you'd have to accurately type that amount into an answer field. Not every potential home buyer would get it right the first time, and imagine how the foreclosure statistics would fall!

  2. Thank you. It seems you have anticipated yet another practical use for the concept. Now if only Wall Street would listen . . .