The U.S. dollar will remain the world’s reserve currency because no other major currency offers such liquidity, depth of financial markets, and store of value.
Some years ago, I attended a small luncheon on the outlook for the U.S. dollar. Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman, was the guest of honor. In response to a chorus of Cassandras who argued that the U.S. economy’s all too apparent weaknesses wouldlead to an inevitable dollar collapse, Volcker made a simple observation: For the dollar to depreciate, he said, it would necessarily have to depreciate against another currency. And in Volcker’s view, at that time, the U.S. economy was fundamentally no weaker than that of any competing countries.
Volcker’s logic would seem equally pertinent today in responding to the many critics who believe that the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented quantitative easing policy will lead to the dollar’s imminent demise as a reserve currency. If the dollar is to lose its reserve status, as epitomized by the fact that more than 60 percent of the world’s foreign exchange and more than 85 percent of world trade is still denominated in U.S. dollars, some other currency would need to replace it. A close examination of the world’s other major currencies reveals that a currency is yet to emerge that offers the liquidity, depth of financial markets, andstore of value that the U.S. dollar does.
To be sure, when viewed in isolation, there are many reasons not to be complacent about the U.S. dollar’s long-run future. After all, the U.S. economy is only now emerging from its worst economic and financial crisis since the 1930s. At the same time, itsdysfunctional political system is yet to come to grips with the country’s long-term budget issues, while the Federal Reserve has more than quadrupled the size of its balance sheet to its present level of around $4 trillion in an effort to get the U.S. economy moving again.
In his classic book Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell invented and perfected the psychological notion of “doublethink.” That is, simultaneously believing two contradictory ideas or opinions. Orwell’s Ministry of Truth building displayed slogans like “War is Peace,” “Freedom is Slavery,” and “Ignorance is Strength.”
“The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.” (Orwell, George 1949. Nineteen Eighty-Four; p 32)
In America today, doublethink is practiced with fine precision at the national level. People who give up and drop out of the work force become “unpersons” and are not heard of or from again; but according to the government, “the economy is fine and unemployment is falling.” Continued global military action is conducted in the name of “peace.” The onslaught of never-ending citizen surveillance is for our “safety and security.” Thought police monitor intentions, resulting in the destruction of reputations and livelihoods. The “Ministry of Propaganda” is never wrong and citizens are never right.
Orwell, H.G. Wells (Things to Come) and Aldous Huxley (Brave New World) all penned their respective futurecasts while looking straight into the face of the American Technocracy movement. The movement as a movement failed soon after it started, but only because the technology did not exist yet that could enforce and sustain their utopian dreams. Those dreamers – and their dreams – continue to live on from generation to generation, encouraged by gargantuan advances in technology.
The results of the elections in France and Greece have made it abundantly clear that there is a tremendous backlash against the austerity approach that Germany has been pushing. All over Europe, prominent politicians and incumbent political parties are being voted out. In fact, Nicolas Sarkozy has become the 11th leader of a European nation to be defeated in an election since 2008. We have seen governments fall in the Netherlands, the UK, Spain, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Greece. Whenever they get a chance, the citizens of Europe are using the ballot box to send a message that they do not like what is going on. It turns out that austerity is extremely unpopular. But if newly elected politicians all over Europe begin rejecting austerity, this puts Germany in a very difficult position. Should Germany be expected to indefinitely bail out all of the members of the eurozone that choose to live way beyond their means? If Germany pulled out of the euro tomorrow, the euro would absolutely collapse, bond yields for the rest of the eurozone would skyrocket to unprecedented heights, and without German bailout money troubled nations such as Greece would be headed directly for default. The rest of the eurozone is absolutely and completely dependent on Germany at this point. But as we have seen, much of the rest of the eurozone is sick and tired of taking orders from Germany and is rejecting austerity. A lot of politicians in Europe apparently believe that they should be able to run up gigantic amounts of debt indefinitely and that the Germans should be expected to always be there to bail them out whenever they need it. Will the Germans be willing to tolerate such a situation, or will they simply pick up their ball and go home at some point?
Over the past several years, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have made a formidable team. They worked together to push the eurozone on to the path of austerity, but now Sarkozy is out.
This article has been generously contributed by Brandon Smith of Alt Market.
For the past four years I have been covering the progression of the global economic crisis with an emphasis on the debilitating effects it has had on the American financial system. Only once before have I ever issued an economic alert, and this was at the onset of the very first credit downgrade in U.S. history by S&P. I do not take the word “alert” lightly. Since 2008 we have seen a cycle of events that have severely weakened our country’s foundation, but each event has then been followed by a lull, sometimes 4 to 6 months at a stretch, which seems to disarm the public, drawing them back into apathy and complacency. The calm moments before each passing storm give Americans a false sense of hope that our capsized fiscal vessel will somehow right itself if we just hold on a little longer…
I don’t have to tell most people within the Liberty Movement that this is not going to happen. Unfortunately, there are many out there who do not share our awareness of the situation. Debt implosions and currency devaluation NEVER simply “fade away”; they are always followed by extreme social and political strife that tends to sully the doorsteps of almost every individual and family. The notion that we can coast through such a tempest unscathed is an insane idea, filled with a dangerous potential for sour regrets.
Friday, 04 May 2012 Senior Eurocrats are secretly plotting to create a super-powerful EU president to realise their dream of abolishing Britain and other nation states, UK media has revealed.
A covert group of EU foreign ministers has drawn up plans for merging the jobs currently done by Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, and Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission.
The new bureaucrat, who would not be directly elected by voters, is set to get sweeping control over the entire EU and force member countries into ever-greater political and economic union. Tellingly, the UK has been excluded from the confidential discussions within the shady “Berlin Group” of Europhile politicians, spearheaded by German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle.
Opponents fear the plan could create a modern-day equivalent of the European emperor envisaged by Napoleon Bonaparte or a return to the Holy Roman Empire of Charlemagne that dominated Europe in the Dark Ages. They are concerned that David Cameron’s coalition Government is doing nothing to prevent the sinister plot. The secret talks were uncovered by Independent Labour peer Lord Stoddart of Swindon.
“This is a plot by people who want to abolish nation states and create a United States of Europe,” he said. “The whole thing is barmy. These people are determined to achieve their final objective.
“The only hope for Britain is to leave the EU and become an independent nation.”
Upholding the rule of international law and defending Russia’s interests are as crucial to Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy today as they were 12 years ago.
Whatever the opponents of Vladimir Putin say about him, he is definitely a pragmatic and predictable leader. Unlike his rivals who sit on the side of revolutionary romanticism, Mr Putin knew exactly where he would lead his country in the world. “Even before the elections, he drew the red lines in foreign policy that Russia would never cross,” says Alexander Rahr, director of the Berthold Beitz Centre at the German Council on Foreign Relations.
“The president’s proposed foreign policy strategy for Russia in the third millennium consists of defending our national interests, rather than pandering to the interests of other countries,” explains Mikhail Margelov, chairman of the Federation Council’s Committee on Foreign Affairs.
The Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation, adopted 12 years ago during Mr Putin’s first presidential term, identified four main national priorities. First was strengthening international security based on the creation of a pan-European security and co-operation system. Second was forming a new world order in which the partnership between the world’s major powers is based exclusively on equality and mutual respect. Third, the Russian Foreign Ministry was tasked with creating favourable conditions for Russia in terms of international economic relations. Fourth, Russia would seek respect for human rights at the international level. None of these items has lost any relevance today.
The Euro-zone in its current form is in its final chapter. Anyone who argues otherwise is not paying attention.
Consider the Greek situation. Greece’s debt problems first made mainstream media headline news at the beginning of 2009. The IMF/ EU/ ECB/ and Federal Reserve have been working on this situation for two years now. And they’ve yet to solve anything: after two bailouts, significant debt write-downs, and numerous austerity measures, Greece remains bankrupt.
Now, if the Powers That Be cannot solve Greece’s problems… what makes anyone think that they can address larger, more dangerous issues such as Spain or Italy, etc?
Consider that the world’s central banks staged a coordinated intervention…and Italy’s 10 year is back yielding more than 7% less than two months later.
Again, a coordinated intervention by the world’s central banks bought less than few months’ time for Italy…
Iran OKs $5b in foreign investment plans, attracts $2b, despite sanctions:
Iran’s deputy minister of economy says the Islamic Republic has approved $5 billion worth of foreign investment plans in the recent 10 months, of…
Previously, Iranian Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Shamseddin Hosseini assured foreign investors of the safety of their investment in the Islamic Republic.
Iran will certainly cut crude exports to some EU nations
TEHRAN – Iran will certainly stop exporting crude oil to some European Union countries in response to the recent oil embargo on the country, Oil Mini…
No restriction on trade with Iran: India
Few days after Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said India will not scale down its petroleum imports from Iran despite U.S. and European sanct…
Iranian companies look to invest in Basra’s agriculture
BASRA: The Chairman of southern Iraq’s Basra Investment Commission, Khalaf al-Badran, has announced that a group of the Iranian Companies wish to…
Against whom is the European Union’s so-called “oil embargo on Iran” really aimed at?
This is an important geo-strategic question. Aside from rejecting the new E.U. measures against Iran as counter-productive, Tehran has warned the member states of the European Union that the E.U. oil embargo against Iran will hurt them and their economies far more than Iran.
Tehran has thus warned the leaders of the E.U. countries that the new sanctions are foolish and against their national and bloc interests. But is this correct? At the end of the day, who will benefit from the chain of events that are being set into motion?
Are Oil Embargos against Iran New?
Oil embargos against Iran are not new. In 1951, the Iranian government of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh with the support of the Iranian Parliament nationalized the Iranian oil industry. As a result of Dr. Mossadegh’s nationalization program, the British militarily blockaded the territorial waters and national ports of Iran with the British Royal Navy and prevented Iran from exporting its oil. They also militarily prevented Iranian trade. London also froze Iranian assets and started a campaign to isolate Iran with sanctions. The government of Dr. Mossadegh was democratic and could not be vilified easily domestically by the British, so they began to portray Mossadegh as a pawn of the Soviet Union who would turn Iran into a communist country together with his Marxist political allies.
TEHRAN | Sun Jan 29, 2012 2:22pm EST (Reuters) – Iran sent conflicting signals in a dispute with the West over its nuclear ambitions on Sunday, vowing to stop oil exports soon to “some” countries but postponing a parliamentary debate on a proposed halt to such sales to the European Union.
The Islamic Republic declared itself optimistic about a visit by U.N. nuclear experts that began on Sunday but also warned the inspectors to be “professional” or see Tehran reducing cooperation with the world body on atomic matters.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspection delegation will seek to advance efforts to resolve a row about nuclear work which Iran says is for making electricity but the West suspects is aimed at seeking a nuclear weapon.
Tensions with the West rose this month when Washington and the European Union (EU) imposed the toughest sanctions yet in a drive to force Tehran to provide more information on its nuclear program. The measures take direct aim at the ability of OPEC’s second biggest oil exporter to sell its crude.
In a remark suggesting Iran would fight sanctions with sanctions, Iran’s oil minister said the Islamic state would soon stop exporting crude to “some” countries.
Rostam Qasemi did not identify the countries but was speaking less than a week after the EU’s 27 member states agreed to stop importing crude from Iran from July 1.
“Soon we will cut exporting oil to some countries,” the state news agency IRNA quoted Qasemi as saying.