The Problem: Currencies Inaccurately Measure Value
Economist know this. Goverments both know and exploit this.
According to recent reports, "Avatar" passed "Titanic" as the worldwide top grossing film of all time generating $1.86 billion. "Gone With the Wind"? A paltry $400 million, trailing such universally beloved cultural masterpieces as "Hancock", "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" and the near perfect "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor". Using this methodology, "Gone With the Wind" made a little less than 22% of "Avatar's" revenue and is falling behing each day Cameron's 3D project remains in the theater.
This, of course, is wholy innaccurate. One dollar in 1939, when "Gone With the Wind" was released, was worth $15.42 in 2010. (Keep in mind these numbers are linked to government figures, and I don't recommend blindly trusting any government.)
In realty, measuring with inflation adjusted dollars—a term which implies accurate value—"Gone With the Wind" created $1.51 billion while "Avatar" has pocketed a paltry $558 million. "Gone With the Wind" actually grossed 271% of "Avatar's" revenue.
Because the unit dollar (or any currency for that matter) does not contain enough information our assesment of theatrical value is innacurate to the tune of over 1200%.
No financial planner on the planet could keep a client if their books were off by 25% let alone 1258%.
The Solution: Lock Currencies in Time
Adjusted dollars conceivable already do this. Why not use them constantly? Looking past the obvious answers (such as governments hold more sway when truths are obfuscated, etc.), let's look for a legit solution.
The Proposal: !$
Peg the value of every currency to 2001.01.01 00:00:01 UTC (the first second of the new millenium) and illustrate this by adding an exclamation point before the dollar sign. Reading it aloud, we'd say "real dollars" or "universal dollars" instead of "dollars", which would also share the meme.
For example, !$200 would mean the current equivalent value of $200 dollars at midnight on the first day of the third millenium BCE.
(I'd recommend using a similar markup to UTC, saying u$ for "universal dollar", however we still need to identify countries with characters when speaking about about currencies. US$, NZ$, et. al. Plus the cognitive emotional power of an exclamation point could have subtle leverage.)
While using new symbols seems conceptually attractive on the surface, I'd recommend using a simple, easy combination of existing glyphs to expidite adoption. Even if Chank himself designed the perfect symbol for each currency, getting everyone on the planet to update their fonts, add the ability to operating systems, buy new keyboards, learn keystrokes, et. al. would by nearly impossible.
(Keep an eye on how quickly the SarcMark—a good idea, though not original—gets adopted to see what I'm talking about. Especially at $2 a license.)
This also doesn't allow government backlash: "The real renminbi symbol is illegal."
If anyone if truly interested, I know of a couple of tools which solve this problem (and goes beyond). Contact me if you're curious.
References, tangents and thank yous:
Box Office Mojo