It’s time once again to trot out my currency and coinage reform proposal.
Given that there has been ample inflation on the order of 10 since the last change, and we have an excessive array of confusing coins and low-value currency, it is time for a practical simplification.
First, denominations need to proceed in a proportional way without large value ratios or crowded ratios. The classic 1-5-10-50-100... progression with ratios of 2.0-5.0 is ideal as a minimum, with denominations of 2, 20, etc. being optional for important valuations.
Second, we want to avoid coins of such low value that they are more trouble than they are worth. Economic waste occurs with the extra time wasted dealing with needlessly small coins. A dime is worth less than a minute of labor at minimum wages, and no currency transaction requires anything smaller than this denomination. The penny and the half-cent served well as the smallest denominations when their values were that of today’s dime. (Note to any economic imbeciles: electronic transactions are often conducted in smaller units than our smallest coin, and that cash registers have been “rounding” - without bias up or down - to the nearest small coin for sales tax purposes for generations. Google sales tax rounding if you have doubts and read a few articles).
Third, we want to set the coin/currency transition at a practical level that avoids our wallets being overstuffed with small bills, or our pockets with too many coins. Coins should be suitable for purchases like a magazine, a coffee, a lunch, or a brief cab ride.
Fourth, the ratio between the largest and smallest coin should be limited to a practical factor. Consider that the economy functions effectively with coins at 0.05, 0.10, and 0.25, with pennies treated as trash, and larger coins generally not used. That is a factor of 5 between the largest and smallest coin. A factor of 10-50 may be ideal, and a factor of 100 (as in actual current coinage) is excessive.
Fifth, we need bills of adequately high value for large cash purchases (consider the largest Euro note has a value of about 6.5 times that of the largest US note.)
Sixth, coins should be sized approximately proportional to their value for ease of recognition and use.
$0.10 (slightly smaller than the current dime)
$0.50 (slightly smaller than the current nickel, larger than the penny)
$1.00 (slightly smaller than the current quarter dollar, larger than the nickel)
$5.00 (slightly smaller than the current half-dollar) Or it could be set at $2 to avoid overlap with a $5 note.
Our current 6 coins are replaced with 4.
Our current 7 notes are replaced with 4-6.
If you want to talk about making coins out of silver or gold, I’m even more enthusiastic:
$1000 gold coin (1 oz)
$500 gold coin (1/2 oz)
$100 gold coin (1/10 oz)
$20 silver coin (1 oz)
$10 silver coin (1/2 oz)
$2 silver coin (1/10 oz)
$1 copper or base metal coin (1/2 oz)
$0.50 copper or base metal coin (1/4 oz)
$0.10 copper or base metal coin (1/10 oz)
Friends who have spent extensive time elsewhere say that coinage whose values increase in 2-3 unit increments are most efficient. Based on their experience I’d say your 2.0-5.0 ratios allow steps that are too large.
Make that a 10¢, 20¢ (or 25¢ for old time’s sake), 50¢, $1 and $2 coins, monotonically increasing in size and thickness with value, every other value reeded. The dime and dollar retain the size of the current coins.
$5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $200 banknotes, possibly also increasing in size with value.
As currently no really large bills because we don’t want Bad People smuggling cash out of the country...