That'll Be 8 Euros or 7 Amros, Sir...
"And how much is that in real money?" - she used to
ask her husband every time they traveled abroad and hotel bills
would be presented in Francs, Kronor or Zlotys. In her mind, as
in the minds of most Americans, the old greenback was the only real
money. She now watched him struggle with the unfamiliar bank notes
and asked her usual question. The difference was that the conversation
this time occurred in Chicago. The new currency called Amro had
just replaced the dollar.
The date was August 30, 2011, the tenth anniversary of unveiling
the Euro. Germany had accomplished a centuries-old aspiration: its
nemesis, the Pound Sterling of England was no more. Giving up the
Mark was a small price to pay for the hated symbol of success and
stability going through the giant shredders. With the Pound went
the jury system, the rule of law, "my home is my castle,"
and "innocent until proven guilty." New laws, written
in Strasbourg and Brussels, based on nothing in particular, have
taken their place. People received their earnings in faceless Euros,
the currency based - like the new laws - on nothing in particular.
For a few years, the Euro fooled many. But as new countries joined
the European Union, reality reared its ugly head. Some of the new
member countries understood as much about economics, markets, and
fiscal policy as they had heard on CNN, and for them the Euro was
simply a new toy, which - for obscure reasons - purchased goods
and services in accordance with whatever the bosses in far-away
offices had decided. They were only too happy to see the last of
their largely worthless pieces of paper, which their governments
had printed at will.
But in countries where people had applied their minds and bodies
over many centuries to build a solid and ever-more prosperous existence,
where families had labored for generations to acquire dependable
reserves, a sense of unease that all of it was slipping away permeated
the citizenry. They wanted to let their representatives know that
all was not well, but their so-called representatives were far,
They wanted to talk about local soccer teams with a century or
more of history, eliciting loyalty from, and bringing admiration
to, the community, now consisting of players from foreign lands,
none of whom even spoke the language of the country. They wanted
to talk about customs and food that used to make their town - and
countless others - special. but their representatives were out of
And that was exactly as these new rulers had planned the new Europe.
They had very little time for the people, because they preferred
to spend their days constructing theories for the new world. They
held it was simply social injustice that some countries had their
affairs in better order than others. They held that social justice
required constant administrative adjustments to equalize the disparate
impact which changing seasons, the phases of the moon, and other
cyclic events apparently exerted on different peoples.
The new rulers had their admirers in America where a most inconvenient
piece of parchment, known as the Constitution of the United States,
created serious difficulties for central planners. But "social
justice" had successfully been sold to Americans as something
that actually existed, and was a good thing to pursue. Whenever
someone asked how social justice could be defined, and thus achieved,
the questioner was called a racist, sexist, homophobic bigot, told
to shut up, and consigned to sensitivity training.
After awhile, it became obvious that creating as much distance
between government and governed as had been achieved in Europe would
take too long. On the other hand, growing millions of naturalized
Americans who retained their Mexican citizenship, and never abandoned
their Mexican identity, became increasingly vocal about the social
injustice that continued to deprive Mexico of a currency of substance,
consistent laws, dependable courts, and uncorrupted officials.
With Canada already well on the road to socialism, the solution
was soon agreed. It arrived in the form of bank notes with a burrito
on one side, a hamburger on the other, and "Free Quebec!"
in French as the watermark on the paper stock. It was called the
Amro. The NAACP issued special thanks on behalf of rap and hip-hop
performers who could now deposit their millions without cringing
at the sight of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and all the
She woke up at last. Cold sweat covered her body.