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Time for a gold rouble? .. we should argue the same way for the dollar

(John Laughland for RIA Novosti) - There used to be a habit of framing old Tsarist bonds and putting them on the wall. Lenin's decision to renege on the Russian imperial debt meant that it became mere paper, interesting only as a historical relic.

In the light of the recent financial crisis in the USA, could the same thing happen now to the bonds issued by the American government, and could the country which has dominated the world for the last half century now enter history as a bankrupt state? And what can Russia do in the circumstances?

The decision by the US government to inject $700 billion into the financial system means that the already gigantic annual budget deficit of the American state (previously some $450 billion a year) will now rise by a factor of three. The total state debt of the USA will rise to well over $11 trillion. It is obvious that such a colossal debt can never be repaid. Instead, it will be serviced by more debt in the future. The contrast with Russia, which has painstakingly sanitised its state finances to the point that it now has more money to lend than the IMF, could hardly be greater.

The recent financial crisis itself grew out of this American culture of debt. To some extent, all countries share it: since 1914, all countries use paper currencies, i.e. debt instruments which are never redeemed. Whereas before the First World War, bank notes were essentially vouchers for specific amounts of gold cash, now the "promise to pay the bearer" (which remains inscribed on British bank notes) is in fact hollow.

In America, this basic culture of debt is aggravated by the fact that other countries use the dollar itself as a reserve. This means that the United States can export dollars in order to pay for its imports without the dollar losing value. Other states also need dollars to buy key commodities like oil. The USA can therefore export paper currency almost indefinitely - the famous "deficit without tears" analysed by the great French economist, Jacques Rueff. Naturally,
...... http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20080924/117072937.html



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