I’m sitting in Malaysia as I write this post and a matter of fact having breakfast in the Executive Lounge of the Marriot (hey you spend as much time in hotels as I and you will end up with a few perks too). As I was scanning the USA Today on the iPad for updates on the happenings in Japan and now Libya, the manager walked up to inquire about the device. After the typical minute or two of tap, tap swipe to show some of the typical eye candy, he asked about the cost of the unit. In response to his query, had mentioned the typical list prices in US dollars and stated a general conversion to Ringgit (MYR) the Malaysian currency.
Interestingly enough, he quickly corrected me sharing that I was quite a ways off in my calculation; for US Dollars to Ringgit and being in the hospitality industry he was very kind in his handling of my error but pointed. It’s here I have to explain something as when I came in country, my arrival was from the Netherlands of which I had spent a week and rather then exchanging Dollars, I had exchanged Euros instead so wasn’t up on the current rate as would be the typical case. Now being a little surprised by the number and with the handy piece of technology in my hands I quickly Googled historical exchange rates and sure enough at the start of 2011 the rate between the dollar and Ringgit had tanked! Was I surprise, well yes even though I’m fully aware of Quantitative Easing both the steepness and timing did catch me off guard a bit. Also believe that sometimes like many other Americans I just don’t want to believe because it’s easier, to say just let me go on with my life as I’m only one tiny cog in a massive machine.
It’s worth sharing here that is one of the reasons I write these posts because in the end they are a kin to sticking myself with a needle to see if I am awake. As after decades of exposure to things like this I’ve become comfortably numb as the song says, thus by putting realizations like this out in cyberspace I’m hoping like a message in a bottle which washes ashore in a distant land the concept contain inside once let out will be shared and may even become viral to some level spurring change.
The message here is many folks unfortunately don’t get to travel outside of the country to exchange currency and by goods abroad to really understand what is happening to our dollar and economic system in general. As I’ve written in the past people really believe that they went to bed with 10 bucks in their pocket before QE 1&2 and woke up with the same. However I’m here to tell you that the tooth fairy was there and applied her own measure of Quantitative Easing to your wallet and that bill is a bit smaller even if the numbers appear to be the same…