Fifty years ago, on August 15, 1971, President Richard Nixon put the economic and financial world into a new era. By his decision to "close the gold window," he fundamentally changed the international monetary system into the system of today, where the whole world runs on pure fiat currencies. "The dollar was the last ship moored to gold, with all the other currencies on board,and the U.S. cut the anchor and sailed off." Nobody knew how it would turn out. Fifty years later, we are completely used to this post-Bretton Woods monetary world with endemic inflation and floating exchange rates, and take it for granted. Nobody thinks it is even possible to go back to the old world: We are all Nixonians now. How shall we judge the momentous Nixon decision in its context and since? A fundamental question with pluses and minuses remains. Is the international monetary system now permanently open to more money printing and more monetization of government debt, making faith in central banks misplaced, and expectation of an ideal monetary policy foolish?
Alex J. Pollock, Distinguished Senior Fellow, R. Street Institute, Author of Fifty Years Without Gold
Moderator: Hon. Wayne A. Abernathy, Chairman, Federalist Society Financial Services & E-Commerce Practice Group
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