World: Mixed-Up Money

While he was prescribing for the world's monetary system, Charles de Gaulle faced a more local money problem. France last week was more than ever the land of funny money. The confusion began in 1958, when De Gaulle turned his Olympian glance on the nation's currency and found it had too much grandeur—in figures. A shoeshine, for instance, cost 100 francs, and a meal at an inexpensive restaurant 1,000.

Still Tinkering. De Gaulle's government diminished the dizzying zeros by merely shifting the decimal point two places to the left. Thus a bank note that...

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