Grants:IdeaLab/Money parity

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Money parity
For historical articles: The Wiki engine needs a way of making an entry of a dollar amount, which can be automatically updated to approximate today's dollars.

For instance an article I was reading had a value of $135,000 in 1977. Few younger readers will know what this is approximately in todays dollars (it is about $650,000 in Australia) This is a very easy calculation for an engine like Wiki to perform, provided it has a special category for inflation amounts, and knows from statistical sources what multiplier to apply.

This would need to exist on the Wiki Page in the form of a small panel inserted into the article, which would be headed, say "Currency Approximations." The multiplication amount would need to be upgraded from standard resources about once a year in most countries. Any amount (with a date) entered into this panel would then be automatically updated and displayed as, say My example:

   [US$135,000 in 1977 = US$650,000 in today's dollar]

The same idea could be used for conversion factors between national currencies. Entering American Dollar figures and get the Approximate English pound equivalent, for instance.

  [US$135,000 in 1977= UK£400,000 today]
I see a lot of value here for Historical articles, economic and business articles. People don't need any exact conversion in most cases; they simply want enough information to make some judgement of scale.
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created on12:25, 12 June 2016 (UTC)

Project idea[edit]

What is the problem you're trying to solve?[edit]

The problem in reading a lot of historical and economic material (both on-line and on paper) is that the reader often has no sense of the inflationary effect on a national currency, or of the conversion rate between currencies. Therefore the value of the information is lost. When told an author earned $35,000 from a book in 1977, many readers would not be able to judge whether this was exceptionally large, or just normal for an interesting book. In fact it is exceptionally large.

When someone writes that the author earned 50,000 yen in 1977, I just have no idea whether this amount would have bought a large hotel, or a small car.

It gets worse in real historical articles. Henry VII paid 35 shillings for a horse. Was this enormously expensive? or was it trivial for the wealthy?

What is your solution?[edit]

Given basic information (updated for each currency, say once or twice a year) the Wiki computers can make these conversions very easily. The programming is very simple. All it needs is some database from which to extract the conversion factors. Such tables exist already in all economies for dealing with the last century.

It gets more difficult in taking the same idea back a century or two, however. Money-value probably then needs to be spelled out in terms of the weekly average wage of (say) an engine driver, or a labourer. It may need referal to a table where a few different salaries, prices, etc. can be displayed for the year and the country.

Project goals[edit]

Historical comparison material will be easier to understand -- especially for younger readers who haven't lived in days when a good weekly wage was $25. I bought my first house in one of Sydney's inner suburbs for $8,200 on this wage.

[Note how difficult it is to work out how this compares with today's economy. 
It is a bit over 6 years full salary because the house had a demolition order on it.]

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