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The Dependency of the Dollar

The United States government benefits from a global demand for U.S. dollars. --->

petrodollar

(Original article “The Coming Collapse of the Petrodollar System” appeared on FTMDaily.com)

by Jerry Robinson

When historians write about the year 1944, it is often dominated with references to the tragedies and triumphs of World War II. And while 1944 was truly a pivotal year in one of history’s most devastating conflicts of all time, it was also a significant year for the international economic system. In July of that same year, the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference (more commonly known as the Bretton Woods conference) was held in the Mount Washington hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. The historic gathering included 730 delegates from 44 Allied nations. The aim of the meeting was to regulate the war-torn international economic system.

During the three-week conference, two new international bodies were established.

These included:

In addition, the delegates introduced the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT, later known as the World Trade Organization, or WTO.)

More importantly, for our purposes here, another development that emerged from the conference was a new fixed exchange rate regime with the U.S. Dollar playing a central role. In essence, all global currencies were pegged to the U.S. Dollar.

From Bretton Woods to the Petrodollar System

At this point, an appropriate question to be asking yourself is: ”Why would all of the nations be willing to allow the value of their currencies to be dependent upon the U.S. Dollar?

The answer is quite simple.

The U.S. Dollar would be pegged at a fixed rate to gold. This made the U.S. dollar completely convertible into gold at a fixed rate of $35 per ounce within the global economic community. This international convertibility into gold allayed concerns about the fixed rate regime and created a sense of financial security among nations in pegging their currency’s value to the dollar. After all, the Bretton Woods arrangement provided an escape hatch: if a particular nation no longer felt comfortable with the dollar, they could easily convert their dollars holdings into gold. This arrangement helped restore a much-needed stability in the financial system. But it also accomplished one other very important thing. The Bretton Woods agreement instantly created a strong global demand for U.S. dollars as the preferred medium of exchange.

And along with this growing demand for U.S. Dollars came the need for… a larger supply of dollars.

Now, before we continue this discussion, stop for a moment and ask yourself this question: Are there any obvious benefits from creating more dollars? And if so, who benefits?

First, the creation of more dollars allows for the inflation of asset prices. In other words, more dollars in existence allows for a rise in overall prices.

The Petrodollar System creates an artificial demand for U.S. Dollars which allows asset prices to riseFor example, imagine for a moment if the U.S. economy had a total money supply of only $1 million dollars. What if, in this imaginary economy, I attempted to sell you my home for $2 million dollars? While you may like my home, and may even want to buy it, it would be physically impossible for you to do so. And it would be completely absurd for me to ask for $2 million because, in our imaginary economy, there is only $1 million in existence.

So an increase in the overall money supply allows asset prices to rise.

But that’s not all.

The United States government benefits from a global demand for U.S. dollars. How? It’s because a global demand for dollars gives the Federal government a “permission slip” to print more. After all, we can’t let our global friends down, can we? If they “need” dollars, then let’s print some more dollars for them.

Is it a coincidence that printing dollars is the U.S. government’s preferred method of dealing with our nation’s economic problems?

Remember, Washington only has four basic ways to solve its economic problems:

1. Increase income by raising taxes on the citizens

2. Cut spending by reducing benefits

3. Borrow money through the issuance of government bonds

4. Print money

Raising taxes and making meaningful spending cuts can be political suicide. Borrowing money is a politically convenient option, but you can only borrow so much. That leaves the final option of printing money. Printing money requires no immediate sacrifice and no spending cuts. It’s a perfect solution for a growing country that wants to avoid making any sacrifices. However, printing more money than is needed can lead to inflation. Therefore, if a country can somehow generate a global demand for its currency, it has a “permission slip” to print more money. Understanding this “permission slip” concept will be important as we continue.

Finally, the primary beneficiary of an increased global demand for the U.S. Dollar is America’s central bank, the Federal Reserve. If this does not make immediate sense, then pull out a dollar bill from your wallet or purse and notice whose name is plastered right on the top of it.

Federal Reserve Note - Money is Debt and Debt is Money

Have you ever asked yourself why the U.S. Dollar is called a Federal Reserve Note?

Once again, the answer is simple.

The U.S. Dollar is issued and loaned to the United States government by the Federal Reserve.

Because our dollars are loaned to our government by the Federal Reserve, which is a private central banking cartel, the dollars must be paid back. And not only must the dollars be paid back to the Federal Reserve. They must be paid back with interest!

And who sets the interest rate targets on the loaned dollars? It’s the Federal Reserve, of course.

To put it simply, the Federal Reserve has a clear vested interest in maintaining a stable and growing global demand for U.S. Dollars because they create them and then earn profit from them with interest rates which they set themselves. What a great system the Federal Reserve has for itself. No wonder it hates oversight and intervention. No wonder the private banking cartel that runs the Federal Reserve despises all attempts to actually audit its books.

In summary, the American consumer, the Federal government, and Federal Reserve all benefit to varying degrees from a global demand for U.S. Dollars.

Editor’s note: Read more about the collapse of the petrodollar system by clicking here.

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