February 01, 1998

Notebook



Show me the Money!

The government’s plan to lop three zeroes off Russian bills by introducing new bills (and reintroducing the kopek!) on January 1, 1998, as of press time, was not exactly coming off as planned. Not enough bills were available to consumers, so shops were posting both old and new prices. Many shops refused to take the new bills because they could not make change and because their cash registers had long since been readjusted to do away with the decimal point. Meanwhile, the “real” intent of the switch was being debated widely: was it merely a poorly organized attempt to limit inflation by constricting the money supply, or an attempt to spur inflation, as shops will round-up prices after lopping off the zeroes (i.e. from 13,800R to 13.80R, rounded to 14) because kopeks are so hard to find?

Inflation Up


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