In Defense Of The (Nearly) Worthless Penny, By williamyard

williamyard is back, this time with a defense of the worthless penny at TNR:
And once again, the bleatings of the utilitarians must be heard!

Well, my friends, allow me to defend the humble $0.01. It occupies a far more important niche than its prosaic brethren the dime, the dollar, the mighty Jackson. It is, in fact, an artful artifact of philosophy, right there on the sidewalk next to the blackened gum and the pigeon poop where no one in their right mind will stoop to pick it up.

In our frenzied search for efficiency we kill serendipity in the public square: we leave no (wrong) turn unstoned. Forget meandering, traipsing, or taking the long way home: either lead, follow, or get out of the way. All hail GPS!

Nowhere does our fetish for boiling life down to every possible digital datum hold more sway than in finance. We must run those numbers, again and again. Why, I bet some math Ph.D. will figure out how to bundle debt obligations and make a market out of them. Won't that be a great idea? Forget the penny: derivatives are where it's at!

Standing against history's tawdry tsunami is our little copper friend. He is more trouble than he is worth--like an elderly relative in a nursing home, or a homeless vet living under a bridge. He can't survive without society's help, like a single mom raising her kids alone. He's worth more dead than alive--like millions of Americans with a life insurance policy and an underwater mortgage.

You want to see what a penny looks like? Look in the mirror.

No, my friends. The penny should not be eliminated because it is worthless; the penny should be RETAINED because it is worthless.

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