When the McCurrency Hits…
For its 50th anniversary, McDonald’s is unveiling its first, and likely only, international currency, the “MacCoin.” The coin can be used from August 3 through December 31, 2018, in 50 countries and is exchangeable for one free Big Mac. The coin will be distributed August 2nd with the purchase of a Big Mac. From there, you’ll have just about five months to claim your free burger.
The global food giant looks to distribute 6.2 million MacCoins, featuring several different languages including English, French, Arabic, Spanish, Mandarin, Indonesian, and Portuguese. The coin will also be available in five different designs, each representing a decade from the 1970s through the 2010s.
All of this may sound vaguely familiar to economists. The Economist invented the Big Mac Index in 1986 as a way to measure the theory of purchasing power parity; essentially, comparing the price of a Big Mac in different places to see if the exchange rate has reached equilibrium. For example, if a Big Mac costs $5 in the U.S. and 20 yuan in China, the exchange rate should be 1USD to 4 yuan. However, if there is a difference in the Big Mac cost and the actual exchange rate between the two countries, then equilibrium has not been achieved.
While The Economist simply used this as a fun way to teach Economics, McDonald’s new burger-backed currency has a perfect 1:1 exchange rate — one coin for one burger. Economists’ dreams may have come true with equilibrium being reached (!!!), for a limited time only at participating stores.
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