The British Pound in Decline
The British Pound in Decline by Bill Haynes – Lew Rockwell
The decline of a nation’s money often parallels the decline of the nation. Rome’s money stands as the classic example; Great Britain’s pound is the contemporary example.
In Rome’s final days, its coins were debased, minted with reduced amounts of gold and silver. Consequently, the people astutely took note of which coins contained the greater amounts of gold or silver, but the Senate took typical government action. It made it illegal for a merchant to ask a buyer with which coins he was going to pay.
Fast forward to today.
This year, for the first time, prize money for the British Open golf tournament was not paid in British pounds but in US dollars. The total purse was $10.25 million, with $1.845 going to the winner, Jordan Spieth.
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, which runs the 157-year old tournament, reasoned that because the Open is an international event (156 golfers from 28 countries this year), it was appropriate to pay in the world’s most recognized currency.
Still, it must have been ego-deflating for the Brits to see their pound, which was once the world’s esteemed money, be shoved aside for the currency of a country that started as a British colony.
At its height, the British Empire spanned the globe. Indeed, the Brits were fond of saying that “The sun never sets on the British Empire.” More accurately, “The sun never sets on the graves of the soldiers who invaded those foreign lands.”
The list of places that once were part of the British Empire is long and includes some of today’s important nations, such as India, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, South Africa, Singapore and, of course, the United States.
The Brits were once mighty, but how they have fallen, and nothing shows just how far a nation has declined like the rejection of its currency.