Not Hard To Swallow

The Economist, a British publication, has an interesting way of comparing the relationship between the world’s currencies using a deceptively simple gauge called the Big Mac Index. As I’m sure you know, McDonalds makes the Big Mac and requires that it meet rigorous standards regardless where you purchase one. The culinary experience should be reliably similar anywhere you go. That makes it somewhat unique, given that McDonalds sells them in franchises spread across 120 different countries around the world. This ubiquity has enabled The Economist to track the relative cost of this signature sandwich in American dollars for 20 years. Currently the value is approximately $3.54 here in the U.S., just $3.30 in England, a beefy $4.38 if bought with Euros, and a staggering $5.60 in Switzerland. The implication points to the relative valuation between currencies and conclusions attached thereto. Does that work out to a penny for each calorie?