Might a money makeover reverse the greenback's slide?
"Today, with the dollar weakening and the U.S.'s economic image tarnished, the dollar imagery looks funereal," says Kevin Kelleher, a writer in the San Francisco Bay Area. "Are dead presidents and eyeballs floating above pyramids really the best we can do?"
On Slate's Big Money site, Kelleher showcases some of the 50 alternative designs that New York designer Richard Smith has received at www.DollarReDesign.com, Smith's grassroots campaign to makeover America's paper currency in a time of economic doldrums.
Roderick Thompson's bright, fresh design.
Tomas Garcia Moreno's "In Rock We Trust" series.
Kyle Thompson honours European philosophers who influenced the Founding Fathers, including Plato, Thomas Hobbes, Adam Smith, John Locke, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and even Niccolo Machiavelli.
Grace Poser highlights everyday Americans.
Canadian-born Peter Le, graduate of the Parsons New School and now living in Beijing, is fascinated with the mysterious Masonic imagery on the current U.S. money, and decides to go full-blown with it, noting that George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, Harry Truman and other U.S. presidents were freemasons. Gives me the willies, but I love the dynamic colours (and the owl, of course).
Matthew Schroeder appropriates the entire Great Lakes for the U.S, but that's okay. You're looking at one-fifth of the world's fresh-water supply. (Lake Michigan is the only Great Lake wholly inside U.S. territory.)
Michelle Haft celebrates America's vocations.
This elegant but striking Richard Smith series symbolizes to me a 21st-century America shorn of iconography associated with the nation's imperialist past, open to new thinking and global ideas.