Scarlet Jewels: 'Euro can help blunt American power: US economy is in trouble' - Top Story
The NewsLog of Julie Solheim-Roe
 'Euro can help blunt American power: US economy is in trouble' - Top Story2 comments
2003-04-28 16:46, by Julie Solheim-Roe

Flemming has had a lot of attention of his synopsis of the article by Cóilín Nunan: "Oil, Currency and the War on Iraq":
"Fascinating explanation of some major economic mechanisms involving dollars and euros and oil. A very big reason that the United States is such an economically and militarily dominating country is apparently that U.S. dollar is the de facto world reserve currency."
The question seems to be, what would happen IF the Euro became the only currency for oil? Hi Pakistan on-line has a main headline today giving a further insight on the issue:
"LONDON: The problem with American power is not that it's American. Most states with the resources and opportunities the US possesses would have done far worse.

The problem is that one nation, effectively unchecked by any other, can, if it chooses, now determine how the rest of the world will live. Eventually, unless we stop it, it will use this power. So far, it has merely tested its new muscles.

Were it not for a monumental economic distortion, the US economy would, by now, have all but collapsed. ... It survives only because conventional measures do not apply: the rest of the world has granted it an unnatural lease of life.

Almost 70 per cent of the world's currency reserves - the money that nations use to finance international trade and protect themselves against financial speculators - takes the form of US dollars. The dollar is used for this purpose because it is relatively stable, it is produced by a nation with a major share of world trade, and certain commodities, in particular oil, are denominated in it, which means that dollars are required to buy them.

The US does very well from this arrangement. In order to earn dollars, other nations must provide goods and services to the US. When commodities are valued in dollars, the US needs do no more than print pieces of green paper to obtain them: it acquires them, in effect, for free. Once earned, other nations' dollar reserves must be invested back into the American economy. This inflow of money helps the US to finance its massive deficit. The only serious threat to the dollar's international dominance at the moment is the euro.

Next year, when the European Union acquires 10 new members, its gross domestic product will be roughly the same as that of the US, and its population 60 per cent bigger. If the euro is adopted by all the members of the union, which suffers from none of the major underlying crises afflicting the US economy, it will begin to look like a more stable and more attractive investment than the dollar. Only one further development would then be required to unseat the dollar as the pre-eminent global currency: nations would need to start trading oil in euros. Until last week, this was already beginning to happen.

...Last year, Javad Yarjani, a senior official at Opec, the oil producers' cartel, put forward several compelling reasons why his members might one day start selling their produce in euros. Europe is the Middle East's biggest trading partner it imports more oil and petrol products than the US, it has a bigger share of global trade and its external accounts are better balanced. One key tipping point, he suggested, could be the adoption of the euro by Europe's two principal oil producers: Norway and the United Kingdom, whose Brent crude is one of the "markers" for international oil prices.

"This might," Yarjani said, "create a momentum to shift the oil pricing system to euros." If this happens, oil importing nations will no longer need dollar reserves to buy oil. The demand for the dollar will fall, and its value is likely to decline. As the dollar slips, central banks will start to move their reserves into safer currencies such as the euro and possibly the yen and the yuan, precipitating further slippage. The US economy, followed rapidly by US power, could then be expected to falter or collapse.
The author goes on to say that the paradox of the reasoning for small states to oppose a conglomerate power, needs to be re-evaluated. He summizes, in the end:
"To defend UK sovereignty - and that of the rest of the world - from the US, the British must yield some of their sovereignty to Europe. That they have a moral duty to contest the developing power of the US is surely evident. That they can contest it by no other means is equally obvious. Those British who are concerned about American power must abandon their opposition to the euro."

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30 Jun 2003 @ 08:57 by Terry Frazier @ : The need for rational analyses
This entire argument is what is known as a logical fallacy -- starting from a flawed premise and moving forward logically. Starting from the simple, but quite incorrect, assumption that the US strength derives from the ubiquity of its currency, it is relatively easy to build a scenario for disaster around the rise of the Euro and the fall of the dollar. This makes quite a charming scenario for Leftists and anti-US zealots, but has little connection with reality.

In evaluating this article three facts must be considered:
1) Size matters. The dollar is ubiquitous because the US has the largest economy in the world -- not the other way around. Setting this fact aside because it is inconvenient to your argument doesn't make it any less true. If you want to change the global economy it's simple -- just buy more stuff than we do. All the carping and whining in the world doesn't win out over simple purchasing power. By starting an argument on a flawed premise you reach a bunch of very pretty, but worthless, conclusions.
2) Size matters, again. The US simply buys more oil than anyone else. According to the US Department of Energy the US consumes roughly 20 million barrels per day, compared with 14 million barrels per day for all of Western Europe. People who want to sell oil take the currency of their largest customer. That's just life. It is highly unlikely that large producers will have the political will to stop taking dollars for any period of time. And small producers that do stop -- like Venezuela, Iran, etc. -- do far more damage to their own economies than to the US. This seems not such a good plan for a sustainable protest.
3) Vulnerability matters. According to a June 02, 2003 article on, Europe is already a net importer of energy and, having little reserves of its own, is projected to import more than 70% of its total energy needs by 2020. The US, by contrast, imports about 25% of its total energy today. Because we have substantial resources of our own our projected import ratio is expected to remain under 60% in the same period. This puts the economies of Western Europe at a disadvantage in world markets over the long term -- even if they manage to unite as a single entity. Further, the moribund economic growth of Europe's largest economies -- GR and FR -- does not indicate any substantial up tick in growth as a result of a United States of Europe.

In general, analyses of US' Mid-East policy should be based on sound economic premises. This is not what we are seeing in the poorly researched, poorly rationalized treatises put forth by anti-US, anti-Bush ideologues. I would be grateful to find some well-researched material that could point us to real solutions, but to date I've seen nothing that qualifies.  

20 Aug 2003 @ 10:34 by Andrew Barker @ : re: the need for rational analyses.
That argument is specious as well. you would want to sell your product in a currency that has the greatest purchasing power to buy the things you need, which, at the time of my writing this, is the Euro.  

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