For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Euro: time for a rebrand?

Europe's most pervasive currency is the euro.  As most readers of this weblog will be aware, the euro is coming in for quite a battering these days. It seems that most euros, whatever their provenance, are destined to shore up the Greek national debt -- a sort of Black Hole from which no money returns.  Greece is but one of a number of euro-hungry jurisdictions known collectively as the PIGS (Portugal, Ireland -- or should that be Italy now? -- Greece and Spain).  It is well known that real pigs have a voracious appetite for food in much the same way as the Eurozone PIGS hungrily consume cash. A major difference, though, is that biological pigs can be profitably smoked, stewed, barbecued and even skinned for their leather by those who have fattened them up, an option which is not open to those who feed the PIGS today.

Investors are, it seems, reluctant to buy euros; this reluctance has prompted at least one commentator to observe that the euro has a bad name.  This set the IPKat thinking.

The Rape of Europa, by François Boucher (c.1732-4)
Of course the euro has a bad name.  It is a bad name.  The word "euro" is a lazy choice for an important currency, being a ubiquitous and non-distinctive prefix which is attached to everything European, but detached from the lovely Europa -- who had a pretty tough time with some of the PIGS herself. This beautiful Phoenician princess of Greek mythology was abducted and raped by Zeus; subsequently, when Greek mythology was adopted and rewritten by the Romans, she was abducted and raped by Zeus. This Kat, who has generally favoured the concept of a single European currency, has never liked its name. It's a bit like Canada calling its currency the "can", Argentina opting for the "arge" or Botswana the "bot".

Says the IPKat, the first step in the rehabilitation of Europe's currency is to give it a fresh name and a new image, to divorce it from the euro's mythological mire and to distance it from its present discomfort.  To this end, this Kat offers as a prize a beautiful new copy of the Butterworths Intellectual Property Law Handbook, 10th edition, of which he is Consultant Editor, to whoever comes up with the best suggestion for a new name for the European currency together with an explanation -- in not more than 30 words -- of why it is appropriate.  Multiple entries are allowed. Please email your suggestions to the IPKat here with the subject line "Not the euro", to arrive not later than midnight (Greenwich Mean Time) on Sunday 13 November.  The only stipulations are that the suggested name must not be (i) a famous trade mark (eg "The Google" or the "Coca-Cola"), (ii) a rude word or term of abuse in any of the official languages of the countries of the Eurozone or (iii) the name of a politician (eg "The Sarkozy" or "The Berlusconi") [Merpel is pleased about this, since she is already fed up of people writing to her and asking her to bail them out, believing that her name is "Merkel"].

15 comments:

Frédéric said...

From a French ear's perspective, the name of the currency could have been a lot worse, had we kept Mr Giscard d'Estaing's initial proposition to dub it L'écu.

More seriously, your post brings a classic "rebranding when in bad times" topic. How many companies have changed their name after it got bad press (for whatever reason)?

Birgit Clark said...

Even before reading Frédéric's post, I can recall the days when we referred to the ECU. What was wrong with that again? There was some ancient French coin also called L'écu.

"Merkel Mark?"

MM said...

Any new name for the euro should have a vowel that is more likely to be pronounced similarly in various countries. Ecu sounds good to me too.

Anonymous said...

BungaBuck ("BB")

Anonymous said...

How about going back to the original pan-European currency, sestertius and denari. Add a bit of precious metal, and we could have LSD back, which operated in some form in many European countries, including England and France - but before my time, I hasten to add!

Anything but a Newuro ...

Anonymous said...

Zeuro

Mark Anderson said...

Ducat

Why? Recognised European currency for centuries (name still in use in Balkans?). See lending of ducats in Merchant of Venice. More recent than Latin currency names mentioned above.

Anonymous said...

Since Germany dominates, how about the Thaler?

Anonymous said...

Given the increasingly artificial nature and worthlessness of the Euro and its doubtful future, and the Tower of Babel that is the EU, I would propose:

The Bauble

Good thing England didn't join. Otherwise, I would have suggested:

The Bangle

George R. F. Souter said...

I agree with you about the Euro name, but for linguistic reasons. I preferred the term Ecu (for “European currency unit”) which it replaced, presumably on chauvinistic grounds (Perfidious Albion again?). The Wikipedia article on the Ecu comments: “Although the acronym ECU is formed from English words, écu is also the name of an ancient French coin. That was one (perhaps the main) reason that a new name was devised for its successor currency, euro, which was felt not to favour any single language.”

Anonymous said...

How about the 'Merkel'. Few people could lay a greater claim to being so instrumental in allowing in the Euro to fail.

Anonymous said...

A "Merkel" + a Shekel =

A Sherkel

Anonymous said...

How about a close relation of the EMU, namely the:

Officially Sanctioned Tender of the Reconstituted Intra-European Currency Harmonisation [OSTRICH].

Of course it is entirely coincidental that the humble Ostrich put its heads in the sand when something frightening (or just plain inconvenient) shows up......

Anonymous said...

The problem with "I" possibly being Ireland or Italy is overcome by using the more fashionable spelling iPigs.

Anonymous said...

News just in - it will be called "Renminbi".

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