Economists Do It With Models

Warning: “graphic” content…

Bookmark and Share
When Money, Geography, And The Law Collide…

September 2nd, 2012 · 6 Comments
Graphic Content · Just For Fun

I wanted to share this for a number of reasons, first and foremost because I think it’s really cool:

In case it’s not obvious, what you are looking at is a map of the world with each country represented by its local currency. (I suppose this explains why Antarctica is missing- I am still waiting for my penguin bucks.) I initially thought that this would be interesting to post for instructors who wanted to give a neat visual when explaining the economic functions of money and such (in related news, here are some articles on the functions of money and the different types of money), but then I realized that the Reddit post that the image came from was at least as interesting as the graphic itself. Some highlights:

  • Apparently making this took some guy 12 hours. I can’t decide whether I would have expected it to take more or less time.
  • There are people who do this sort of thing by hand, which is pretty badass. (See here and here, for example. I think my favorites are the Collateralized Debt Obligation piece from the first link and the Bernanke portrait from the second.)
  • The artist pointed out that Photoshop actually has a feature that can detect when a file contains images of currency and are really uncooperative with such files. I guess this isn’t entirely surprising, but I never would have thought about it on my own. (If you are super nerdy, you can read more about one standard identifier, which is called the EURion constellation, here. I now know that various color copiers will also refuse to copy things with this marking.)
  • In general, I am impressed with the level of discourse and information on Reddit, but, even controlling for this, I wouldn’t have expected so many people to point out whenever the artist used currencies that are no longer in use. (Presumably he did this because the older currencies were more aesthetically appealing, but who knows.) My favorite comment on the matter went like this: “Why did you use Denmarks old 500 kroner note?” “Because Denmark’s old 500 kr note was awesome and had Niels Bohr on it. What other reason would you need? The new one is boring.” In related news, I now have enough information to lament the replacement of scientists with bridges and such on currency. What gives?
  • It is technically illegal to mutilate U.S. currency, but this isn’t true for all countries. It’s also unclear whether mutilation for non-fraudulent purposes falls under the jurisdiction of the money-burning law. Either way, it’s one way to take contractionary monetary policy into one’s own hands.

In any case, I am being supportive and buying a poster to put next to my other money poster. I guess I’m inadvertently creating a bit of a money shrine, not unlike the mini-museum at the Boston Fed:

Cool right? Maybe it’s just me.

Tags: Graphic Content · Just For Fun

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Rev. Pfloyd // Sep 2, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    I dig it. One of the things my grandfather gave me before he passed away was a shoebox full of currencies he had collected from his travels in the service; lots of old stuff not even used anymore (such as Deustschmarks). I had these all stowed away in a fire safe and, as a gift, my wife went and put a bunch of them in a picture frame which is now prominently displayed in my library.

    I love that stuff.

  • 2 EconoNerd // Sep 2, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    “In general, I am impressed with the level of discourse and information on Reddit”

    Really? Because I just can’t stomach going to their politics or economics subreddits because I found the level of discourse there to be absurdly puerile and uninformed.

    In general, I stay away from that site as a bastion of crass pseudoscience. Half of the people think the gold standard is somehow legitimately accepted among economists. Or they think of economists the way vaccine-conspiracy-loonies think of medical doctors, which scares me just as badly.

  • 3 Jeff // Sep 2, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    I was expecting to read:

    “… well, ok. Maybe a LITTLE BIT unlike the mini-museum at the Boston Fed.”

  • 4 Stephen // Sep 2, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    On our honeymoon, I spotted a Yap stone in a window display. That’s how my wife and I wound up spending 2 hours in the Bank of Canada’s currency museum.

    She did find it to be more interesting than she expected.

  • 5 Ilir Deebran // Sep 6, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    What happens when quantity, quality, variety and convenience collide in a single equation? It leads to a scale that allows us to measure what was once hidden. Alex Gheg shows how it’s done. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6tFLGpcOpE

  • 6 ckw // Dec 1, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    For more currency art please visit: http://www.alternatingcurrency.com

Leave a Comment