Metric currency

Before the start of the 13th century, Leonardo Fibonacci published the Liber Abaci in 1202. It is a new method to be introduced to Europe to replace the still widely used Roman numeric system. The Liber Abaci simply introduced what he acquired from the Arabs, the now widely used Arabic numerals. Before the use of Arabic numerals, merchants relied on the Abacus to perform calculations for commerce; this method was slow and very confusing since the complex Roman numerals sometimes defy the laws of multiplication and division. Since Europe’s religion is mostly Roman Catholic, many Universities and Governments refused the usage of the numeric system that belonged to the “infidels”. On the bright side, the need for a more efficient system ignored the influence of the church over education and government and merchants quickly utilized the new Arabic numeric system, as most calculations can be done without an abacus. This process greatly improved the efficiency of the markets and soon thereafter, governments and universities adopted the new system . The system did improve the market economy’s efficiency but it is nowhere as good as our current system because they use a system that is very confusing compares to our current metric standards. In the United States, the currency is called the Dollar and it is divided into 100 cents, pretty simple isn’t it? Now, before 18th century the majority of Europe divided their currency into arbitrary units. England for example used the shillings, farthings, crowns, pennies, guineas, pounds and sovereign which is divided into very inconsistent and changing values. 12 pence would make one shilling, and 20 of these shillings make a pound. One pound and one shilling would make a guinea. I am already confused myself and it was noted that this currency units are very vulnerable to errors.

This kind of system is still evident on some of our very common systems of measurements. Look at the clock for example, a day consists of 24 hours and an hour has 60 minutes and a minute has 60 seconds. The way we measure angles, notice a complete revolution is an awkward 360 degrees. The English system, over which a mile is equal to 5280 feet, a figure that is hard to remember compared to the metric 1 kilometer is equal to 1000 meters. France wants to associate its newly formed democracy to decimalization that they tried to change the value of a right angle to 100 degrees and a complete circle is 400 degrees. They also tried to revise the clock on which an hour would contain 10,000 seconds. It is easy to say on paper but mechanically, it was impossible to construct with their existing technology. Under this newly proposed system, a day was reduced to 10 hours and week would have 10 days. The word week has to be replaced with decad and a month would consist of 3 of them. However not too many liked what the French are proposing and they abandoned it April 7, 1795.

Back to currencies, across the pond, in the newly formed United States of America, its currency uses the decimal system and consists only of two units, the dollar and the cent. Russia was using the decimal system as well. This decimal system is less vulnerable to errors and it is very easy to learn especially on a still unstable 18th century United States. After the French revolution, France under a new government began to mint coins using the much more efficient decimal system. The creation of international trade shows elevated the attractiveness of the usage of the new decimal system for currencies. This world’s fair was held in Great Britain with the London exposition of 1851. The Vienna Coin Treaty pushed forward the adoption of the decimal system for coinage and measurements which some countries quickly followed like Germany, Italy Mexico, Japan and many more. However, Great Britain was slow to adopt on measurements as it still retained its English system of measurement it is in part due to the systems close association with the political ideas of France.

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