Thursday, March 29, 2012

BRICS advance plans to replace dollar

For years these countries made vague plans about economic cooperation. Recent events have spurred their efforts, which are nearing completion. This spells bad news for the average resident of the U.S. These were all countries that were happily abiding by the structures of the U.S.-led international economy, with its privileged position for the U.S. dollar.

Though they are called the BRICS countries now, interestingly, they have a history of common interests and alliances dating back to the Cold War Era: Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa. There is no J in the name, but I would add Japan to the list, as they have also been part of numerous currency and bilateral trade deals with China and others recently.

Their new economic union portends a sea-change in the economic affairs of the world, though these events are gaining barely a mention in the U.S. press. They are establishing trade relationships using their own currencies and central banks, dispensing with the U.S. dollar and the Anglo-American banking establishment, embodied in such institutions as the IMF and the World Bank.

They are spinning these moves as a form of risk management, which is true to a degree, but the main point of the moves is financial and economic independence from the rapidly sinking U.S. economic order, and freedom from the dictates of U.S. foreign policy.

--The biggest event to get their ball rolling was the ongoing banking bailouts begun in 2008, which have had the effect of exporting a massive amount of inflation to the rest of the world.

--Ballooning debt levels, which no one can reasonably believe will ever be paid off, have done their part to undermine foreign faith in the US dollar.

--Iranian sanctions this year are the acute problem which has led to so much recent frenzied alternative economic-planning activity.The rest of the world doesn't particularly want to go along with U.S. policy on Iran, but they are forced to by their subservience to the Western financial system, such as the SWIFT payment clearing house.

Nor does the rest of the world want to subsidize our continued war-mongering, but they are forced to by their need to reinvest their US-dollar trade surplus into government debt. Basically, everyone knows the US dollar is going down, and earnestly wants to see it do so, but because everyone is holding a massive surplus of dollars, they are all treading lightly, trying not to completely destroy the value of their dollar investments.

For U.S. residents, the process of dollar replacement most directly involves massive inflationary pressures. The international demand for dollars is shrinking, meaning the domestic supply is rising. The cost of everything will continue to rise, not only because of a swelling of the dollar supply, but also because the US will be deprived of its position as "buyer of last resort". In practical terms, that means that foreigners will no longer be dumping their goods cheaply on the U.S. market. The costs of everything will rise for that constriction of supply.

There are some positives to this development, however. For one, the high dollar acts as an impetus to immigration. As the dollar falls, people will no longer want to move here to work or live. Another benefit of the falling dollar is that American produced things will become more competitive, thus allowing the rebuilding of our productive economy and the expansion of our employment base. The transition period will be the killer, though.

Right now, the U.S. economy is totally dependent upon government expenditures. If the federal government had to balance its budget tomorrow, the U.S. economy would collapse the day following. Restoring domestic production, employment, and prosperity will be a painful process. The longer we drag out the adjustment through the distorting effects of government debt spending, and the more we disrupt international trade (especially in oil) with our war mongering, the worse it will be.

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