South Africa: Pound Foolish

One of the lesser benefices conferred by Britain's empire builders on untutored natives was the British monetary system of pence, shillings (12 pence) and pounds (20 shillings). As the empire slowly dissolved, most colonials seized the first chance to convert to a saner system. India, Pakistan and Ceylon switched to a decimalized rupee, Canada and Singapore to a decimalized dollar. Last week South Africa, whose Afrikaner government is intent on being as separate from Britain as it can be without taking itself out of the Commonwealth, replaced the pound with a decimal system of Rands and cents.

Under the new...

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