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Subject: Re: [ubl-lcsc] Rate and Ratio

** Reply to message from marion.royal@gsa.gov on Thu, 7 Aug 2003 16:57:13 -0400

> An alternative of "ratio" was offered, but I'm not sure this was resolved.
> The problem may be that we habitually use incorrect terms, especially
> within our domains.  I looked around a bit and noticed that in mathematics,
> rate is used to compare two unlike units of measurement as in "kilometers
> per hour" and ratio is used for comparison of numbers of the same units of
> measure (gear ratio is 1:4).  The units of a ratio are typically not
> expressed.

Ratios never have units, they are pure numbers.

> A currency exchange is a comparison of two different units, so currency
> exchange rate would be accurate.
> A percentage seems to me to be a ratio.  A tax of 10 percent would equate
> to a ratio of 1 to 10 dollars.  Likewise with discounts.
> Does this make sense to you?  Does it have a dramatic impact on business
> vocabularies?

To my mind, there is no way UBL could hope to promote the idea of a "tax ratio"
for what the world calls a "tax rate".  A tax rate is indeed the ratio of the
tax you pay to your gross earnings, but this is simply too subtle.  Rate is
just a very general concept, and I would suggest that all you can do is qualify
it appropriately for each context.

Anthony B. Coates
London Market Systems Limited
33 Throgmorton Street, London, EC2N 2BR 
Mobile/Cell: +44 (79) 0543 9026
[MDDL Editor (Market Data Definition Language), http://www.mddl.org/]
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