Richard Duncan “The Dollar Crisis”

ISBN 0 470 82170 1. Published by John Wiley & Sons in 2005. Full title: “The Dollar Crisis: Causes, Consequences, Cures” by Richard Duncan. This edition revised and updated from the original published in 2002. As such the first four sections remain as per the original book with the author adding a fifth part to update the work. Duncan is a Financial Analyst and Consultant for the International Monetary Fund. He is mainstream – one of the ‘stratos dwellers’. You will see nothing in this book about social justice, global warming or Peak Oil. However his findings are still profound and strike to the very heart of the petrodollar Empire. The book is 316 pages long but still a reasonably quick read because of the vast array of Tables and Graphs to illustrate the author’s point. The writing style can be a little strange as if the author has been on a writing class where he was told to tell his audience what he is going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you have told them. So he repeats the structure over and over again in ever decreasing circles until your eyes roll to heaven in disbelief. You could easily remove one quarter of the book through simple repetition. The fault for this can firmly be planted with the lack of editorial control. Added to which his mind-boggling use of statistics does lead the reader to end up skimming through pages waiting for the author to get to the point. When he does get to the point – and this is rare – he is bang on the money – if you pardon the pun. His point is simple: since the breakdown of the Bretton Woods agreement in the early 1970’s the Gold Peg was lost so that America could simply print all the money it wanted. The result was an explosion in the global money supply that created an incredible credit bubble. Bubble’s burst. The USA has been financing the world economy through deficit spending and massive trade deficits. This must, one day, come back into balance. The bankers live in fear of what Duncan describes as ‘deflation’ which euphemistically refers to a recession. The credit bubble has created too much industrial capacity which is too much product chasing too few customers leading to a slump. The solution for Duncan is to force up the wages of export workers in the Third World to be new consumers for all this excess supply that America can no longer afford to buy. A surprising conclusion. He also calls for a return to the Exchange Controls suggested by Keynes at the formation of Bretton Woods. He also suggests a Global Central Bank to control the Money supply using the IMF Special Drawing Rights as a fledgling world currency. Although welcome suggestions within the mainstream the near-lack of the wider resource depletion question somewhat limits the work. You will also find his suggestions seem to be a little at odds with what we learn from Monetary Reform ideas – primarily that 97% of all money is Debt. To read Duncan you might believe the Governments print more cash to increase money supply. Of course they don’t do that. They borrow the money into existence. It is hard to recommend this book as it is a difficult read. It gives you all the facts and figures you would ever wish to need but it is dealing with a largely self-obvious topic – Dollar collapse. However it is interesting to see imaginative ideas like this coming out of the mainstream. Refreshing.

About post-carbon-man

A passionate advocate of a peaceful transition to a sustainable political-economy, Mark hails from a working class farming background. Today he is a Company Director and Chairman of the Low Carbon Chilterns Co-operative. Whilst at University (Engineering Masters) he was active in Conservative Student politics but has had no affiliation since. He has travelled widely on business covering the USA, Europe, Middle East and Central Asian Republics. In 2007 Mark founded Post-Carbon-Living and a year later co-founded Transition Town High Wycombe. He lives with is wife & daughter in a home they retrofitted to be carbon-neutral. Today he blogs about surviving politics on a shrinking planet and is passionate in his rejection of Nationalism.

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