Simple Economics - a Child's Impression
Conversion Of Our Unit of Currency
Way back when I was very young, the government over and above deciding to change our identity by becoming the Republic Of Southern Africa, then had to fiddle around with not only our currency, but also our units of measure.
This was the birth of decimalisation, and was also a valuable lesson in just how economics worked in that grown up world around us.
Prior to decimalisation we had Pounds, Shillings and Pence, good old LSD.
- Post decimation we had Rands and Cents.
- Prior we had a pints, quarts, and gallons
- Post we ended up with liters
- Prior we were also informed by pamphlets and press and radio, that the change over was very simple.
- A rand was 10 Shillings
- A pint of milk was now a liter of milk
Simple and easy to comprehend, even to us children,
The Impact of the Rand and Cents
When I received my weekly pocket money, I would try and get the the pocket money in pennies rather than the new decimal money.
If I could not get the pocket money in old money, I would act as a money merchant and try to convert it into the old currency as a matter of economic survival.
As there was always, a small group of kids in the playground who always had to have the latest of what was going around, even then at that early age there was quite a few that would gladly exchange.
Our sweets and Bubblegums
This is were it really counted, the universal money of the playground as well as the classroom.
- A penny would buy you 4 Chappies or 2 Wicks bubblegums,
- sixpence would then give you 24 Chappies or 12 Wicks
- Now a cent would buy 4 chappies,
- a five cent would buy you 20 Chappies or 10 Wicks
So when you are were a kid in those days, you might have tickey a day, and if you had a new 2 1/2 cent coin, you lost out on a whole 2 Chappies. Boy was it rough growing up then.
There were a few ways we could reduce our losses if we had ended up with new money.
Going into the shop and buying one Wicks with the 2 and a half cent coin, and only accepting 2 pennies or a mix of hap-pennies and farthings. You lost a Chappies, though.
However when this happened we would get someone else to go into the shop and exchange the Wicks, for the Chappies, however the shopkeepers all new us and cottoned onto that scam fairly quickly.
Then it finally dawned on us, that unless, we got our pocket money in pennies, we would loose, and mark it down, to one of those lessons in life.
Decamilisation devalued our buying power
The lesson in economics that we learnt at that tender age all those years ago was as follows.
The price stayed the same it just cost you 2 cents more in every shilling.
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