Please tell the Pulitzer Prize committee to give me an award for doing an entire story not based on a Donald Trump tweet. Maybe a new category? In any case, the latest episode of Mostly Weekly explores money around the world, from Britain’s new vegan-friendly £5 note, to Venezuela where inflation is so rampant shopkeepers weigh stacks of it, to India where their abolishing paper money itself.
I covered these things because I don’t actually know how to intelligently discuss financial news, but I wanted to make a prop Heaton Dolár to try to buy contraband with in my neighborhood.
I purchased a dozen or so Zimbabwe 20 Billion Dollar notes a few years back as joke gifts. Governments often use inflation as a way to finance debts without going through the unpopularity of raising taxes. (Everyone keeps their money, but it becomes worth less and less. Same effect as taxes, but like a magic trick!) Robert Mugabe decided to fund his African military interventions through devaluing his currency into atomic rubble. That resulted in inflation so rampant that whole schools of math had to be invented just to describe the number of zeroes on business transactions.
Because these utterly worthless scraps of paper have become collectors items in America, their value has ironically shot up on Ebay, years after Zimbabwe quit bothering to even have its own currency. That means on a percentage basis, buying Zimbabwe 20 Billion Dollar notes is the best investment I’ve ever made. Which doesn’t bode well for me becoming a hedge fund manager. (Except maybe at Platinum Partners.)
Andrew Heaton is a writer and standup comedian in New York City. If this post made you laugh or think, kindly "like" it on Facebook.