In 1992, I was given what became my favorite hotel bill keepsake when I stayed in Mexico City and was charged one million for a brief business stay.
It wasn't a mistake. That was one million pesos and the Mexican peso was becoming worthless. By 1993, then-President Carlos Salinas de Gortari stripped three zeros from the currency and renamed it the Nuevo (or New) Peso.
The transition from worthless to one Nuevo Peso to one U.S. dollar was done in three years from January 1, 1993 to January 1, 1996. The word "nuevo" was removed from the currency and it returned to be called "peso".
Now it is 2009 and what appears to be looming, according to one authoritative press report this weekend, is a massive pre-emptive devaluation of the U.S. dollar as Team Obama readies itself to announce the "Big Bang" -- a gigantic bailout of the frozen U.S. economy involving trillions of dollars.
So far, Washington has allocated US$750 billion for banking rescues and another US$825 billion for job creation projects. But that's nothing.
The venerable Financial Times of London described this "Big Bang". My guess is that it was part-speculation and part-trial ballooning by an embattled White House.
Here's what the FT said the "Big Bang" could involve:
Those are the highlights of what can only be described as a Nuevo Financial System and a currency debasement which will involve the printing of trillions of dollars, Euros and all the others.
It's ironic that the "Big Bang" was used to describe this comprehensive re-regulation and restructuring of a broken financial system worldwide. The first "Big Bang" in the late 1980s started in the UK and led to a massive deregulation and restructuring of financial markets.
Diane Francis blogs at the Financial post.