Saturday, November 1, 2008

BRIC through the window

Paul Craig Roberts notes the increasing resentment of other nations at America's enormous government and private debt, which they've been compelled to finance. But the rule of the dollar as the world's reserve currency might soon come to an end:

The dollar’s rise is temporary, and its prospects are bleak. The US trade deficit will lessen due to less consumer spending during recession, but it will remain the largest in the world and one that the US cannot close by exporting more. The way the US trade deficit is financed is by foreigners acquiring more dollar assets, with which their portfolios are already heavily weighted.

The US government’s budget deficit is large and growing, adding hundreds of billions of dollars more to an already large national debt. As investors flee equities into US government bills, the market for US Treasuries will temporarily depend less on foreign governments. Nevertheless, the burden on foreigners and on world savings of having to finance American consumption, the US government’s wars and military budget, and the US financial bailout is increasingly resented.

This resentment, combined with the harm done to America’s reputation by the financial crisis, has led to numerous calls for a new financial order in which the US plays a substantially lesser role. "Overcoming the financial crisis" are code words for the rest of the world’s intent to overthrow US financial hegemony.

Brazil, Russia, India and China have formed a new group (BRIC) to coordinate their interests at the November financial summit in Washington, D.C.

On October 28, RIA Novosti reported that Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin suggested to China that the two countries use their own currencies in their bilateral trade, thus avoiding the use of the dollar. China’s prime Minister Wen Jiabao replied that strengthening bilateral relations is strategic.

Europe has also served notice that it intends to exert a new leadership role. Four members of the Group of Seven industrial nations, France, Britain, Germany and Italy, used the financial crisis to call for sweeping reforms of the world financial system. Jose Manual Barroso, president of the European Commission, said that a new world financial system is possible only "if Europe has a leadership role."

Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said that the "economic egoism" of America’s "unipolar vision of the world" is a "dead-end policy."

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