Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis

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  • In 1971, President Nixon imposed national price controls and took the United States off the gold standard, an extreme
    measure intended to end an ongoing currency war that had destroyed faith in the U.S. dollar. Today we are engaged in a
    new currency war, and this time the consequences will be far worse than those that confronted Nixon.

    Currency wars are one of the most destructive and feared outcomes in international economics. At best, they offer the
    sorry spectacle of countries' stealing growth from their trading partners. At worst, they degenerate into sequential
    bouts of inflation, recession, retaliation, and sometimes actual violence. Left unchecked, the next currency war could
    lead to a crisis worse than the panic of 2008.

    Currency wars have happened before-twice in the last century alone-and they always end badly. Time and again, paper
    currencies have collapsed, assets have been frozen, gold has been confiscated, and capital controls have been imposed.
    And the next crash is overdue. Recent headlines about the debasement of the dollar, bailouts in Greece and Ireland, and
    Chinese currency manipulation are all indicators of the growing conflict.

    As James Rickards argues in Currency Wars, this is more than just a concern for economists and investors. The United
    States is facing serious threats to its national security, from clandestine gold purchases by China to the hidden
    agendas of sovereign wealth funds. Greater than any single threat is the very real danger of the collapse of the dollar
    itself.

    Baffling to many observers is the rank failure of economists to foresee or prevent the economic catastrophes of recent
    years. Not only have their theories failed to prevent calamity, they are making the currency wars worse. The U. S.
    Federal Reserve has engaged in the greatest gamble in the history of finance, a sustained effort to stimulate the
    economy by printing money on a trillion-dollar scale. Its solutions present hidden new dangers while resolving none of
    the current dilemmas.

    While the outcome of the new currency war is not yet certain, some version of the worst-case scenario is almost
    inevitable if U.S. and world economic leaders fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors. Rickards
    untangles the web of failed paradigms, wishful thinking, and arrogance driving current public policy and points the way
    toward a more informed and effective course of action.

    more...

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