By John F. Di Leo -
What is a nation’s currency?
Ask an economist, and he’ll tell you that a U.S. Dollar bill, or a European Euro note, or a British Pound note, for that matter, is not really objectively worth its denomination. It’s just a piece of cotton paper, with a drop of ink and a magnetic strip. It’s not worth much. But it represents confidence in the nation’s economy, and it serves the economy as a means of exchange – a few pennies worth of decorated cotton serving to enable the purchase of a $1 loaf of bread, or a $10 lunch, or a $20 hardcover book, or a $100 dinner with the family.
But ask a social scientist, and he’ll tell you that a nation’s currency tells you something about the nation that issues it. What does a society value? What does it champion? What are its sources of pride? That’s what they’ll put on their currency.