The Making of the Next Global Crisis
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.
INDEX"Rickards, experienced financial adviser, investment banker, and risk manager, tells us we are in a new currency war that could destroy faith in the U.S. dollar; he examines that war through the lens of economic policy, national security, and historical precedent. As a national security issue, he tells a fascinating story of his involvement with the Pentagon and other agencies in designing and participating in a war game using currencies and capital markets, instead of ships and planes, to gain early warning of attacks on the U.S. dollar. The author concludes that "mainstream economists and central bankers alike are well aware of dollar weakness and the risks to international monetary stability from the new currency wars." He sees four prospects for the dollar-multiple reserve currencies, special drawing rights, gold, and chaos. Rickards' ideas are controversial and will attract support and criticism across many disciplines. Nevertheless, he presents a compelling case for his views and offers thought-provoking information for library patrons. This is a must-read book."
-Mary Whaley, Booklist
"A literate financier with a global view."
"Jim Rickards highlights dangerous dynamics between national security and the international financial markets. What we assumed was firm ground under our feet is more like the narrowing point of a precipice. Our politicians, national security experts, and financial markets, each chasing carrots dangling in front of them, fail to see that they are leading America right off the edge."
-Charles A. Duelfer, former special advisor to the director of the CIA, author of Hide and Seek: The Search for Truth in Iraq
"Put on your flak vest and helmet and enter the dangerous battlefield of global finance. Jim Rickards takes you through a captivating roller- coaster ride-the past, the present, and a look at the problematical future of our ongoing currency wars."
-Rear Admiral (Ret.) Stephen H. Baker, chief of staff, Fifth Fleet; recipient Distinguished Service Medal
"The leading edge of tomorrow's warfare is economic, and we are being probed daily by those who would do us grave harm. . . . Fortunately, we are developing means of detection and a small cadre who understands that the economy intersects national security at the ground zero of modern warfare. Currency Wars provides the best introduction to how it has occurred in the past, how it is occurring today, and how we may prepare ourselves to prevent it from happening tomorrow."
-Brigadier General (Ret.) Joseph L. Shaefer, U.S. Air Force Intelligence Crisis Action Team
"A captivating, articulate, and thoughtful account of failed attempts by governments to create wealth by debasing their currencies. Currency Wars should be required reading for all policy makers, MBA students, and anyone concerned about the long-term stability and prosperity of Western democracies."
-Sorin Sorescu, professor of finance, Texas A&M University
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