Our Folding Money's Come Unstowed


Cezar Chavez on money: While you're at it, why not just stamp "A NOVELTY" on the front?

If the first thing you think when a guy introduces himself as a "creative strategy consultant specializing in transforming brands into wants and desires" is "watch your wallet," you're more right than you think.

Creative strategy consultant Richard Smith has put together a field of competitors for his 2010 Dollar ReDe$ign Project.

Candidates range from arty but reverent to abstract to stuff only I could like. Anti-Lincolnites may get a charge out of this Bill of Rights series, in which Honest Abe—a president even more free with search and seizure than most, and possibly the only president to quarter troops in private homes—shares the fiver with the Fourth Amendment and the unsung Third Amendment.

Vote on the candidates here.

I kind of like this new spin on a classic.

The greenback could certainly use a makeover, but I'm not sure about Smith's motivation:

"[O]ur great 'rival', the Euro," he writes, "looks so spanky in comparison it seems the only clear way to revive this global recession is to rebrand and redesign."

Leave aside whether the global recession needs to be revived. Does anybody think the Euro looks spanky? In ancient days, Europe did in fact have it all over the U.S. in terms of beautiful currency: the full-color Delacroix 100-franc note, the blinding sunflower on the 50 gulden, the 20-franc watercolor of Claude Debussy, Gauss on the 10 deutschmark bill. How could our olive drab regiments compete?

That all ended with the Euro. I think what finally brought the nations of Europe together around a bill series as bland as the Euro is that they realized soon they'd have to start putting women on their money.

Why would we want to be copying European design now?

Naysayers in the ReDe$ign comment threads give short shrift to Smith's (possibly tongue-in-cheek) claim that the redesign will boost the economy. Why do they hate America?