inflation in the afterlife?

Cross-posted to blog.Mises:

From (“Adventures of a BigWhiteGuy living in Hong Kong”), comes an explanation of Chinese “Hell Notes”:

The Chinese believe that when someone dies, his spirit goes to the afterlife, where it lives on, doing much the same things it did in life. Surviving relatives want to send gifts to make the afterlife as comfortable as possible. Aside from intricate paper objects such as houses, cars, clothing, watches, mobile phones, appliances and even domestic helpers, Hell Bank Notes are most popular. Burning sends them on their way.


What kills me is the notes come in such a huge variety of denominations — everything from one cent up to billions of dollars. This means one of two things: either everyone in the afterworld is wealthy beyond imagination, or inflation is staggering. Maybe the dead need a single $1 billion bill to buy a loaf of bread — rather like the 1923 German Reichsmark. Ouch!

Follow-up:19 June, Yancy Ward adds this comment at blog.Mises:

On MarginalRevolution, Alex Taborrok quoted the following joke that is
related to this blog entry. I thought it was extremely funny.

Paddy O’Brien died and as is the Irish custom the mourners were throwing money into his coffin. The town miser, whom everyone despised, cried out “I loved Paddy O’Brien. Whatever anyone else puts into the coffin, I will double!” Thinking the miser a little bit drunk the townspeople took this as an opportunity to teach him a lesson. Gathering all their money they showered the coffin with $3012 in bills and coins, more than had ever before been given at a funeral. The miser then gathered the money, wrote a cheque for $6024 and threw that in.


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