It is really hard to believe the US is so far behind Canada, Australia, New Zealand, et al. when it comes to currency types and materials.
- In Canada, we have $1 and $2 coins; in the US, they still use $1 bills.
- In Canada, (albeit 20 years too late) we have eliminated the penny. So have many other countries. But the US still produces and uses the one-cent coin. It is terribly wasteful.
The US was quite avant garde when it brought out the Susan B Anthony $1 coin. If they had stuck with that and stopped printing the $1 bill, they'd be way ahead of the game.
In the controversy about whether the U.S. penny should stay or go,most women want pennies to stick around, but men want to get rid of them. In the latest Investor Pulse survey from Spectrem Group’s Millionaire Corner (www.millionairecorner.com), 57 percent of women believe the United States should keep the copper coin, while 62 percent of men think the U.S. should get rid of it entirely. ...
Only 14 percent of respondents think the U.S. should get rid of dollar bills, with men again more likely to say they’d like to see them go (20 percent of men versus just 6 percent of women).
I really wonder if people in the US understand that the costs of these decisions [to keep the penny and the $1 bill] are likely well over $100m/year. Per year! That's a pretty high opportunity cost to bear for the sake of those traditions.
Addendum: After I had written the above, Jabber posted this photo on FaceBook:
You can buy 100 plastic pennies for $3.49 for your kids to play with; or you can just give them a dollar's worth of pennies. Duh.
As Jabber pointed out, if you can't make even plastic replicas of your currency for less than the face value of your currency, it is probably time to reconsider whether keeping that currency makes any sense.