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Whenever I have to discuss money on a global scale (for example, "The global DNA sequencing market is..."), I am left in a quandary.

If I say "£500 billion", that seems very parochial unless I'm writing for an English audience. I might say "€600 billion", but I have an uneasy feeling that there may be people outside of Europe who would be befuzzled.

As a result, I reluctantly lapse into American currency and say "$700 billion". Because Americans invented large numbers, this seems to be the only generally accepted currency for discussions on global finances.

So, I propose we invent a new notional currency, specifically for the purpose of country-independent discussions of money. No doubt a better name can be found than "ICU" (international currency unit). ICUs would not be traded, and nobody would worry too much about how their currency fluctuated by a few percent here or there against the ICU, but they'd be handy for sort of vague large- number discussions.

MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 05 2013

Wikipedia: Special Drawing Rights http://en.wikipedia...cial_drawing_rights
ISO Code XDR, used as the unit of account by the IMF. [zen_tom, Jul 09 2013]


       M'lud, most hospitals here in the colonies have a ward called the Intensive Care Unit. Like many of my fellow idiot Americans, I have had several visits to various ICUs and not once have I enjoyed my stay. Prithee consider a different acronym.
Alterother, Jul 05 2013

       Point accepted. GCU?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 05 2013

       International Money Unit? Inertial Measurement Units aren't talked about much in the relevant context.   

       International Unit of Currency?
notexactly, Jul 05 2013

       What about the BTS (Bowl of Tomato Soup)?
ytk, Jul 05 2013

       Whatever, but metric please.
piluso, Jul 05 2013

       Why bother with a unit at all? “Global sales for 2034 are forecast to be 400,000 billion!”. Dollars, Euros, zloty, makes little difference.
pocmloc, Jul 06 2013

       Seems like this has been suggested by the Chinese and oil interests before. And _everything_ is traded. If there is a market for bear bile, there is likely a market for a globe-standard currency reference.
RayfordSteele, Jul 06 2013

       /reluctantly lapse into American /   

       A little token reluctance allows you to keep your dignity. Don't worry - people will know you are not actually American by your charming fluency with the language.
bungston, Jul 06 2013

       //"€600 billion"// sp. €600 milliard.   

       Even better would be a measure that is fairly stable over time; "in today's money", for example, still leaves me checking the dates and doing a quick calculation to allow for inflation. Gold, silver, or Big Macs would do.   

       But I can't endorse your idea, because it is another instance of "There are too many standards. Let's solve the problem by creating a new standard."
spidermother, Jul 09 2013

       I'm not sure what you're worried about, [MaxwellBuchanan], we're printing enough for everyone.   

       I think as [spidermother] points out, you already have at least two such currencies, one being gold, and the other one being the dollar. The rest I believe is purely the minor provincial resentment, wholly out of character for one purporting to discuss anything on a global scale :)
theircompetitor, Jul 09 2013

       Hmmm - OK, point taken about too many standards. ("I love standards - there are so many to choose from.")   

       Gold is a nice idea, but "ounces of gold" is cumbersome, and the major currency units are too small to be referred to conveniently. Maybe define a milliOunce (which would be a glorious unit, melding Imperial and metric), abbreviated mZ, which would be roughly equal to one dollar, euro or pound.   

       //people will know you are not actually American by your charming fluency with the language.// Cheers, old bean.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 09 2013

       I think around here we like to call it *dead presidents*.
xandram, Jul 09 2013


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