The New York Times reports that this has happened in Zimbabwe. The story focuses on a hospital that is now accepting payment in peanuts which its grinds into peanut butter that it feeds to its patients. As the story reports
The hospital, along with countless Zimbabweans, turned to barter in earnest in 2008 when inflation peaked at what the International Monetary Fund estimates was an astonishing 500 billion percent, wiping out life savings, making even trillion-dollar notes worthless and propelling the health and education systems into a vertiginous collapse.
Below is a barter exchange rate list for different goods.
The exchange rates are denominated in dollars, because last year Zimbabwe did away with its currency and replaced it with the U. S. Dollar. You know things are bad for your currency when you want to adopt the U.S. Dollar in its place!
As the report indicates, thoroughly debasing the general medium of exchange can have grave consequences.
For most of the past year, the hospital did not have enough money to stock blood. Ms. McCarty said women who hemorrhaged after giving birth or experiencing ruptured ectopic pregnancies were referred to bigger hospitals, but often they had no blood either. Eight women died, she said. Just recently, the United Nations has begun paying for blood at the hospital to improve women’s odds of surviving.