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Jan Nieuwenhuijs: U.S. and Europe fight a war over gold during the demise of Bretton Woods

Section: Daily Dispatches

By Jan Nieuwenhuijs
Gainesville Coins, Lutz, Florida
Monday, February 5, 2024

This is the story of the emergence of the U.S. dollar hegemony.

After the collapse of Bretton Woods in 1971 several European central banks tried setting up a new gold pool to stabilize the price and move to a quasi gold standard. The United States wanted to phase out gold from the system and enforce a dollar standard on the world.

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What frightened the U.S. was that Europe held the most gold and alluded to raising the gold price periodically to create liquidity, giving them the dominant means of creating reserves. Through its military presence in Germany, protecting it from the Soviet Union, the U.S. was able to pressure the Germans not to cooperate with the gold pool. Without Germany, the other European countries couldn't materialize the pool and gold lost its anchor role in the monetary system. In the meantime, the U.S. made a secret deal with Saudi Arabia to recycle oil dollars into U.S. government bonds.

The United States didn't manage to phase out gold from the system altogether, but it did succeed in establishing a global dollar standard, which yielded the U.S. unprecedented power. ...

... For the remainder of the analysis:

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