Selling Mona Lisa Could Ease France's National Debt
Can a national treasure be used to pay off the national debt?
The state-run news agency France 24 has suggested Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa be sold to pay off France's $2.6 trillion debt. Despite the fact the masterpiece is said to be "priceless," France 24 speculates the Mona Lisa could easily be worth $2.4 billion and its sale could wipe away nearly 0.1 percent of the debt in one fell swoop. Apparently the work was valued at nearly $100 million in the 1960s, so France 24 estimates it would be worth $2.4 billion today after inflation.
Ratiba Hamzaoui wrote, "Her enigmatic smile beams down on hundreds of thousands of tourists a year at the Louvre Museum in Paris. And she could also bring a smile to France's cash-strapped government if a sale could ease the national debt."
There is a major problem with this solution though -- the Louvre doesn't own the Mona Lisa. According to law, national treasures are owned by the nation. But France has been selling off what it can within the law. They've sold buildings and a large number of their finest wines from the presidential cellars in an attempt to lower national debt.
So the Mona Lisa will be in France for a long time to come, but so will its debt.