A use case for pennies: development aid

In the U.S., there are more and more calls to abandon the penny, with some very convincing argumentation. Canada has decided to get rid of CAD cents. It has also already been done in some of €uro countries: Finland, for instance, rounds every purchase to 5 cents. 1 and 2 cent coins issued in other euro countries are valid currency, but you seldom see them, because you don't need them and because of their low value, they're just a nuissance.

New York Times tells that Zimbabwe has a different problem: after hyperinflation, the country abandoned the worthless Z$ (with banknotes running up to hundreds of trillions of Z$ in denomination) and is now using USD. But while it is relatively straightforward to start using U.S. paper money, there is a shortage of coins. They are expensive to ship, and even more expensive to make, so they just don't have any.

So, perhaps there is a use case for the smallest coins of U.S. money, after decommissioning them: ship them to Zimbabwe as development aid.

OK, it could be that people just scavenge them for copper, anyway, so as a development aid, U.S. should actually develop a new-technology penny that is cheap enough to make.

And it could be that if the Americans give money to Zimbabwe, someone will find it outrageous that this hazardous waste is dumped to Africa. After all, the reduced-cost pennies made in America after 1982 are made of zinc, with just a copper coating, and if a child swallows it, it could corrode in the stomach, become sharp and potentially dangerous for health.

Still, I'd say: perhaps Americans should give their pennies to Africans, literally.

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