Author Topic: New Country= New Currency...but Lack of imagination ?  (Read 3372 times)

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Offline Harald

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New Country= New Currency...but Lack of imagination ?
« on: July 31, 2011, 02:54:27 PM »
A couple of weeks ago, the World has welcomed the youngest state. And since one of the signs of statehood is a currency,
some days ago also the World's youngest currency has appeared. And what did the South Sudanese come up with ... the pound
and the piastre. Very disappointing  :(  -- BTW, didn't they want to invent a fancy country name, as well, instead of the horrible
"The South of Something in the North". 

In a quick count I have found 7 different pounds (not including the Jersey, Guernsey, Falkland pounds, which are clones of the GBP).
Almost half of the currencies share only six names: dollar, franc, rupee, peso, dinar, pound. With one exception they all are of European
origin.

It is crucially important to have a distinct flag, coat of arms, anthem, a national plant and/or national animal, and what not.
But apparently the money, which is used day by day, is not considered a national symbol. Or at least not its name.

I'd love to see more of the ekwele, kwanza, kwacha, ngultrum, pa'anga, vatu, ...

cheers
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Harald
« Last Edit: April 02, 2012, 09:05:23 AM by paisepagal »
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Online <k>

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Re: Lack of imagination ?
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2011, 03:01:53 PM »
It is also disappointing to see how many countries call their currency the dollar. One of the last to do this was Eritrea - surely it could have found a more suitable name related to its own culture?

Botswana invented the name "pula" for its currency, which means "water" in the national language. I remember its meaning by thinking of "pula water" - pool o' water - get it? Oh, OK - you don't like it...   :'(

See also my topic: Families of currencies.
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Offline chrisild

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Re: Lack of imagination ?
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2011, 03:30:52 PM »
Guess that part of the dilemma regarding new country or currency names is that they should not be partial. What may sound great to one part of the population may be dull or even insulting for others. And then you need to take your neighbors into account. (As for country names, remember "Macedonia"?) It seems that, for the time being, "South Sudan" is fine as a country name.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/baobab/2011/01/naming_south_sudan
http://nation-branding.info/2010/12/29/naming-a-nation-southern-sudan

Now as for the currency, my assumption is that again they want to emphasize some kind of continuity. Had the "old" united Sudan still had the dinar as its currency, a new name for the Southern currency would have been likely. But "pound" sounds neutral enough. (Interesting that the North will apparently http://www.sudantribune.com/North-Sudan-launches-new-currency,39626 keep that name too.) And as English is the official language, at least for government usage, in the country ...

Christian

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Lack of imagination ?
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2011, 03:46:04 PM »
Almost half of the currencies share only six names: dollar, franc, rupee, peso, dinar, pound. With one exception they all are of European origin.

I would argue that dinar is also of European origin, as its name is rooted in denarius. Another sign of lack of imagination is using the dollar sign for a currency that has no connection with the dollar (e.g. the Malaysian ringgit). I applaud the Indian attempts to have their own sign and I hope it wil stick.

Peter
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Offline chrisild

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Re: Lack of imagination ?
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2011, 05:48:02 PM »
Guess the "non-European" among those six is the rupee. :) As for the ringgit, it does (or at least did) make sense to use the $ symbol, as it basically is the successor to the Malaya/Borneo dollar. In the first few years, even the new Malaysian currency was called dollar in English ...

In some countries the $ (with one or two vertical lines) means dollar, elsewhere it means or meant (e)scudo or peso, and in all these cases the $ is appropriate. Even some Pacific currencies use the $ symbol although the currency name is different. In the case of Tonga for example the reason is probably the connection to the Australian dollar.

Christian

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Lack of imagination ?
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2011, 06:37:23 PM »
The connection between the Ringgit and the US dollar is there, but far-fetched.

As can be seen from the history of the US trade dollar, there is no direct connection. There is an indirect connection, which runs through the Spanish colonial peso, but whereas the Straits dollar is based loosely on the specifications of 1497 to 1728 (930.5 fine, 67 to the Castilian mark), the US dollar is based on the Mexican dollar (in theory 916.6 fine, 68 to the Castilian mark, in practice falling to below 900 fine from 1808*). From a numismatic point of view, the changes may seem slight, but the Chinese would accept post 1728 pesos only at a deep discount, if at all. So the connection is from Ringgit to Straits dollar to old peso to new peso to US dollar.

Peter

*further up in history, the rates crossed. When the Straits dollar was introduced as a coin, the token-coins were on an 800 fine standard. It is exactly this downward trend of the Straits dollar towards USD that made the US trade dollar too heavy and a failure.
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Offline FosseWay

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Re: Lack of imagination ?
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2011, 07:53:15 PM »
Alongside the pound currencies you should really include those which descend from the Latin libra (whence the £ sign comes). Two of these (the defunct Italian lira and Maltese liri) are direct descendants of the original Latin, but in the case of Turkey, the word has been borrowed into a completely unrelated, non-Indo-European language, just as denarius was into Arabic to become dinar.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Lack of imagination ?
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2011, 08:25:26 PM »
Etymologically, you are quite right, but numismatically things get complicated, because financially, it was different :)

The English pound is course a Carolingian weight. Carolingian gold is quite rare, but what there is, was based not on the Roman libra, but on the solidus. At least, it was called solidus, but the standard used was that of the triens of 3 to the solidus. Therefore, the link between the Roman libra and the Carolingian pound is quite weak. However, there is a strong link between the Carolingian libra and the French livre, divided in sols and denier. On those grounds, the link between the English pound and the French franc (the successor of the much devalued livre) is quite bit stronger than that between the pound and the Roman libra.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline andyg

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Re: Lack of imagination ?
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2011, 08:57:13 PM »
back to the OP...

I'm reminded that if one wants to do something controversial, one should look at ways of making it appear reassuring and traditional (hence the using of the old currency name)
always willing to trade modern UK coins for modern coins from elsewhere....

Offline Harald

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Re: Lack of imagination ?
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2011, 08:54:39 PM »
Etymologically, you are quite right, but numismatically things get complicated, because financially, it was different :)

I'd say it's the other way round. Etymologically "lira" and "pound" are different, one derives from the Latin word "libra",
the other from "pondus". The link between the two came via numismatics.

The connection between the Ringgit and the US dollar is there, but far-fetched.

"Ringgit" is a nice name, since the Malays have decided to not just say "dollar" (or something phonetically suitable).
It is said to be derived from an ancient name given to the Spanish Dollar or Maria Theresia Thaler, which appeared
to the locals to have a "ragged" edge. Unfortunately, I haven't found any evidence for this explanation in any Malay
dictionary.

cheers
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Harald
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Offline Coinsforever

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Re: Lack of imagination ?
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2011, 01:27:19 PM »
I applaud the Indian attempts to have their own sign and I hope it wil stick.

Peter

I too hope that it will last longer without any other political controversy......................

Cheers ;D
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