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Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis [Hardcover]

James Rickards
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 15 2011

In 1971, President Nixon imposed national price controls and took the United States off the gold standard, an extreme measure intended to end an ongoing currency war that had destroyed faith in the U.S. dollar. Today we are engaged in a new currency war, and this time the consequences will be far worse than those that confronted Nixon.

Currency wars are one of the most destructive and feared outcomes in international economics. At best, they offer the sorry spectacle of countries' stealing growth from their trading partners. At worst, they degenerate into sequential bouts of inflation, recession, retaliation, and sometimes actual violence. Left unchecked, the next currency war could lead to a crisis worse than the panic of 2008.

Currency wars have happened before-twice in the last century alone-and they always end badly. Time and again, paper currencies have collapsed, assets have been frozen, gold has been confiscated, and capital controls have been imposed. And the next crash is overdue. Recent headlines about the debasement of the dollar, bailouts in Greece and Ireland, and Chinese currency manipulation are all indicators of the growing conflict.

As James Rickards argues in Currency Wars, this is more than just a concern for economists and investors. The United States is facing serious threats to its national security, from clandestine gold purchases by China to the hidden agendas of sovereign wealth funds. Greater than any single threat is the very real danger of the collapse of the dollar itself.

Baffling to many observers is the rank failure of economists to foresee or prevent the economic catastrophes of recent years. Not only have their theories failed to prevent calamity, they are making the currency wars worse. The U. S. Federal Reserve has engaged in the greatest gamble in the history of finance, a sustained effort to stimulate the economy by printing money on a trillion-dollar scale. Its solutions present hidden new dangers while resolving none of the current dilemmas.

While the outcome of the new currency war is not yet certain, some version of the worst-case scenario is almost inevitable if U.S. and world economic leaders fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors. Rickards untangles the web of failed paradigms, wishful thinking, and arrogance driving current public policy and points the way toward a more informed and effective course of action.


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Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis + The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System
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Review

“One of the most urgent books of the fall.”
—Mike Allen, Politico
 
“Let’s hope he’s wrong.”
Financial Times
 
“Rickards . . . has written one of the scariest books I’ve read this year. Though I was tempted at first to dismiss him as alarmist, his intelligent reasoning soon convinced me that we have more to fear than fear itself. Part history, part primer and analysis, the text covers topics ranging from the “misuse of economics” to complexity theory. The pieces, although disparate, fit together snugly, as in one of those mystery jigsaw puzzles that come with clues in lieu of cover art. The picture that emerges is dark yet comprehensive and satisfying.”
—Bloomberg Businessweek
 
“Unsettling . . . fascinating . . . a thorough analysis of how nations have manipulated their currencies . . . with disastrous consequences.”
—Fort Worth Star-Telegram
 
“Buy Currency Wars if you want to learn the history and language of the global currency markets and the political economy which they support.”
—Chris Whalen, Ritholtz.com
 
“Jim Rickards highlights dangerous dynamics between national security and the international financial markets. What we assumed was firm ground under our feet is more like the narrowing point of a precipice. Our politicians, national security experts, and financial markets, each chasing carrots dangling in front of them, fail to see that they are leading America right off the edge.”
—Charles A. Duelfer, former special adviser to the director of the CIA; author of Hide and Seek: The Search for Truth in Iraq
 
“Put on your flak vest and helmet and enter the dangerous battlefield of global finance. Jim Rickards takes you through a captivating roller-coaster ride—the past, the present, and a look at the problematical future of our ongoing currency wars.”
—Rear Admiral (Ret.) Stephen H. Baker, chief of staff, Fifth Fleet; recipient, Distinguished Service Medal

About the Author

James Rickards is a counselor, investment banker, and risk manager with over thirty years' experience in capital markets. He advises the Department of Defense, the U.S. intelligence community, and major hedge funds on global finance, and served as a facilitator of the first ever financial war games conducted by the Pentagon. A frequent guest on CNBC, CNN, Fox, C-SPAN, Bloomberg TV, and NPR, Rickards also lectures at Northwestern University and at the School of Advanced International Studies.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Ian Robertson TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
James Rickards has combined a thought provoking mix of history, economics, current events, and his own experience to produce a fascinating and thought provoking book. As the title suggests, it focuses on the relative value of the US dollar versus other currencies, and the possible and probable outcomes of the current fiscal and monetary policies (the so-called ‘wars’) of major economies. Crisply written with just the right level of theory to prove points without dragging the reader into detailed economic formulas.

Rickards provides an historical overview, drawing important lessons and debunking some myths from the gold standard era, two previous currency war eras (post WWI and 1967-1987), and the recent rise of the G20, globalization and state capital. For example, he debunks the myth that German hyperinflation in 1921 was to devalue war debts; rather it was an effort to spur an export led economic recovery when no other options were acceptable. Lessons abound in thinking of who fared better than whom in that era; debtors, and owners of businesses, real property, and foreign assets far outpaced people on a fixed income or with simple savings accounts. With respect to recent history, Rickards is outstanding in highlighting recent news items such as Gazprom’s shutting the valve on Ukraine’s natural gas lines and China’s and Russia’s statements and actions with respect to developing an alternative reserve currency.

Rickards shows the weaknesses in monetarism and Keynesianism, and then introduces complexity theory, in which increasingly complex systems - societies and financial institutions to name but two - require exponentially higher levels of energy to sustain.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complicated but good Dec 15 2011
Format:Hardcover
With no prior "economics" courses some of the terms and phrases are a bit daunting but this book is a very exciting but worrisome treatise on what has been happening in the world with the use and abuse of fiat currency within countries and between countries and how really bad things may yet get. Even in spite of my lack of prior understanding the book was one I couldn't put down!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wake up Amerika May 4 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A must read for everyone who does not want to be caught with the pants down . Most people are living in a dream world seduced by the normality bias . Wake up from the deep slumber America , it is time
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome May 3 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a must read for anyone who wants to clearly understand what is happening to the value of your money and what the various governments are doing to destroy it. If you read no other book about your financial well being, this book must be read. It is not overly complicated and it does not speak at a nonsense PHD level to impress. It is clear, concise and extremely educational. Best read on this timely subject matter by far...
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Currency Wars comment by James Turk Nov. 20 2011
Format:Hardcover
It was my good fortune to receive an advance copy of Jim Rickards' new book, Currency Wars. It is a great book, and I highly recommend it.

The book is split into three parts, with the first part being almost surreal because it reads more like a novel than non-fiction. It details Rickards' participation in an exercise at the Warfare Analysis Laboratory near Washington D.C. This group is one of the Defense Department's leading venues for war games and strategic planning, but in a first-ever event, the game in which Rickards joined was not a war-fighting simulation. Rather, several dozen people from the military, academic and intelligence communities fought a global financial war using currencies and capital markets to support national interests. Rickards and two colleagues were invited to give the simulation some real-world, Wall Street expertise about markets, which they certainly did.

I guarantee that when you start reading this part, you won't put the book down until you learn the outcome of the war. It reads better than a suspense novel, even though the ending is somewhat anti-climactic and predictable. While I won't spoil it for you by divulging the ending, I will note that gold has a big role to play. In fact, gold reappears throughout the whole book.

In the second section, Rickards analyzes the first two currency wars (CWI and CWII). He provides an interesting historical account of the global monetary twists and turns, ups and downs that marked much of the twentieth century, with keen insight into the motivations why these currency wars were fought. CWI lasted from 1921 to 1936.
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