Monopoly money

Catching up on the news as usual, I only just saw the specimens for the new bank notes that are to be released next month and I am waiting for the Central Bank to announce that this is a joke and they are not really going to be replacing our old notes with that monopoly looking money.

Maybe it’s just me because the Central Bank Governor was quoted as saying that “the new notes have a contemporary layout and design that mirrors our status as a modern nation” — and he would know, being the governor.

But why, as a democracy, don’t we get to give our opinion on things that are of importance in the country? It would have been good for the Central Bank to have asked the public our opinion on spending money that we don’t have, to replace our existing bills or perhaps they could have allowed us to vote on the design. Maybe I don’t deal with change well, after all “no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better’.”

I suppose that when it comes down to it, the appearance of the money is not really the important thing once it retains its value but I find that the new, cheaper look of the bills somehow devalues the money. I only hope that is not prophetic.

I do however appreciate the security features and the Braille for the blind and I can even understand the concerns about counterfeiting but I just wonder about the costs versus the benefits. How much money is being spent to create these news bills versus the amount of counterfeit money in circulation? Then of course we no longer back our money with gold, so we can print as much monopoly money as we like.

I truly wish that printing new notes meant new money miraculously flowing into the coffers. However, it will require each of us to find ways to use our gifts and abilities to generate revenue and, as I’m always saying, if it has export potential so much the better. So it’s not new bank notes that we should really be getting worked up about (or maybe it’s just me getting worked up), it is finding ways to get other currencies into our reserves.

I’m an optimist, but even I am beginning to get concerned about the economy. I was reading an article where Sir Charles Williams said that he had never seen it like this and to say that times are rough would be an understatement. The private sector has to send home people and although Government is adamant that they will not do the same, I don’t see how they can avoid it. I mean they owe money all around, even to me.

I paid $118 for my daughter to sit an exam privately and then she was able to enter through her school and I was told I could get a refund. Well it’s been months and I can’t see the cheque from the Ministry of Education. So I don’t know how businesses who have done work for Government are managing.

I’m not saying this in any way to cry down the Government because this is not just a Government problem, it is our problem. If the Government cannot pay companies and they have to send home staff, it affects everyone. However, I don’t think that it is fair of them to keep public sector workers at the expense of private sector workers which is in essence what is happening.

I don’t want to see anyone being sent home but if it comes to the worse, rather than despair we need to begin to use our gifts and abilities, our “oil” to create revenue.

I’m trying to do my part and use my oil to earn a little revenue and, better yet, foreign exchange, so I’ve been working day and night to finish the sequel to my first novel which I’ll publish on Amazon again. Believe me, it’s a wonderful feeling to go to the bank with a US dollar cheque from Amazon, or another publisher, for royalties you have earned and know that you’ve helped to put back some of the foreign exchange that you spent.

So I encourage all of us to really think about the way we spend this new money because although it may look like monopoly money we won’t automatically get it when we pass GO.

* Donna Every is a Chartered Accountant and an MBA who worked with Ernst & Young for ten years before starting her own Business Advisory practice, Arise Consulting Inc. She has written four books including What Do You Have in Your House?, Surviving in Times of Financial Crisis and the novel The Merger Mogul.

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