Ridges on Coins

5 Aug

You’ve seen them–the ridges that are around the outside edges of coins.


Technically, it is called reeding.  Historically, ridges were put on the outside of coins because the coins were made of precious metals–gold or silver.  Certain people would shave around the edges of the coins and get some of that precious metal.  They were cheating the system–trying to get a little more money from the coin than it was worth, at the expense of the person who got the coin back.

So the mints added reeding.  That was a change to the coin that made it much harder to steal money by shaving the coin.  The theft-protection system was institutionalized.

Most of the debate in the recent election has focused on the economy.  I find that a little sad and short-sighted.  But if we are going to talk about the economy, why don’t we really talk about the economy?

Let’s not only talk about the percentage of people who want jobs and can’t find them, let’s talk about changes we can make to the system to prevent coin-shaving.

There are people who make money by computer programs that shave the daily fluctuations in the prices of stocks and make profit off of that.  That practice introduces a basic instability into the stock market.  Can we instute an equilivent of reeding to that?

If you think about it, there are a number of ways the ordinary citizen can get cheated in the financial sector of the economy.  Are we wrong to expect the system to have institutional honesty?

That’s the part of the economy we should be working on.

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