Alasdair Macleod – 22 August 2012
It’s almost as if currencies are designed to confuse you. In fact, sometimes they even lie to you. Take the pound sterling for example; each 5, 10, 20 and 50 pound note assures you, the esteemed owner, the gracious right to redeem it for… 5, 10, 20 and 50 pounds respectively. Either there’s an awkward “I-give-it-to-you-so-that-you-can-give-it-back-to-me” manoeuvre involved here or somebody’s lying. Well, this quirk and much more is cleared up when recounting the evolution of currency systems over the past two centuries; and as it turns out this history is far more exciting than is usually let on (think political thriller as opposed to economic textbook!). So without further ado here we present a history of exchange-rate regimes from 1821 to the present day.
Click image to enlarge and/or use Ctrl+Plus (or ⌘+Plus for Macs):