When one hundred trillion dollars ain’t enough, thanks

Money can't buy back your youth when you're old
Or a friend when you're lonely, or a love that's grown cold
The wealthiest person is a pauper at times
Compared to the man with a satisfied mind

>The late great Johnny Cash

One of the strange characteristics of “developing” countries is that they tend to have “silly” money. What I mean by that is that a coffee will cost you twenty thousand and a TV four million. A house could well cost you above a billion!

It takes some getting used to, but it’s a nice feeling to know you are a millionaire (well, at least until you receive a six hundred thousand electricity bill in the post.)

I’m not sure why it’s worked out like this but I guess it’s a sort of compensatory gesture by the central banks of developing countries to make their country’s impoverished citizens feel richer – through the astute use of the good old “zero” (costs nothing right?)

Going down the scale, the smallest Indonesian banknote I can remember using is the old red Rp100 note.

old red Rp100 noteThis is worth about 1 cent.

And I even have a very old Rp10 note! (about 0.1 of a cent)

old Rp10 note
But those days are long gone and heading in the other direction we have now advanced to the Rp100,000 note. Seemingly large (about US$10), but actually kid’s stuff compared to what the rocket scientists in Zimbabwe have come up with:

one hundred trillion dollars banknote
WTF! A 100,000,000,000,000 (one hundred trillion dollars) banknote!!!!!!!!!

Nope: this is NOT a joke, although you probably feel it must be – the idea of a credible central bank issuing a note this large is just absurd.

In the US, this amount would be the total output of the entire US economy for about six years. And in Zimbabwe? Well, it doesn’t even get you a cup of coffee (although you’d probably get to become a bloody good mathematician after doing the shopping for a few months – if you could find anything to buy that is!)

As for the Indonesian Rp100,000 note, I was surprised when it came out a few years back because unlike all the other Indonesian banknotes that are made of paper, this note is made from some sort of high tech, glossy material - very much like an Aussie note. And why is that? Well because – as I have just discovered - it IS an Aussie note. Or at least a note made by the Aussies – a company called Securency to be more specific.

But how could this be so in a country where nationalism does most of the talking?

Well, you really should know the answer to that already, shouldn’t you?!!

1. You mark up the price 20 per cent in your first quotation.
2. Our friend will reply to you, the price is too high and please kindly reduce your price.
3. Your second letter agrees to lower 15 per cent.
4. Our friend will issue their final offer which reduces the additional 5 percent.''

Yep folks. One of the most amazing Aus-Ind corruption cases ever!


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