Making Sense of Money for those Who Can't

follow up to a previous article from the NY Times:

It took me a minute to realise that the pistol on the 10 referred to Alexander Hamilton’s duel.
Somehow the talking chip doesn’t seem realistic, and forget different sizes (though different colors would work).

I wonder if the powers that be, even talked to blind people about it? So often we make decisions for those who are the most affected without discussing the issue with them at all. They should be involved in this process in all ways.

Depends on which blind people, the American Council for the Blind, who brought the suit or the Nat’l Federation of the Blind who had this to say:

National Federation of the Blind Denounces Ruling
on Accessible Paper Money Lawsuit

Baltimore, Maryland (May 20, 2008): Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld a ruling that could force a redesign of U.S. paper currency so that blind people can distinguish denominations by touch.

National Federation of the Blind President, Dr. Marc Maurer, said: “Today’s ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is profoundly misguided and may unintentionally do real harm to blind Americans. Hundreds of thousands of blind people use paper money every day without difficulty. We hope that this ruling will not have the unintended consequence of reinforcing society’s misconception that blind people are unable to function in the world as it currently is. Identifying items by touch (including currency) is convenient, but not essential to blind people being able to participate fully in society. For a court to say that if we cannot identify it by touch, we can’t use it is a fiction and a dangerous one. Millions of items that cannot be identified by touch must be managed by the blind in business, industry, and education every day. We are successfully managing all of these endeavors, and the court’s ruling challenges our ability to do so without any supporting evidence.

I don’t understand how Didymus could seriously suggest that different colored bills could somehow help the blind identify different denominations while different sizes would not. Did you get it backwards when you typed it?

Britain uses different sizes of notes for different denominations, while Canada uses different colored inks for easier identification.

That being said, the government of the US has a singular lack of aesthetic sense when it comes to the design of currency. We have some of the ugliest money in the world. And what’s with the dollar bill that they’ve been promising to phase out because of its high maintenance cost? When will Treasury figure out that the way to do it is to stop printing one dollar bills? Does no one at Treasury have the brains God gave him?


quick poll of several blind friends and teachers of the blind, which I conducted after reading the other thread on this topic, is unanimous–blind people have no problem detecting bills from ordinary paper, or using money at all, and did not ask for and don’t support this lawsuit. 8 people is not much of a poll, but there it is.

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