On March 4, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt became president for the first time, promising an “adequate but sound” currency. The next day, a Sunday, he closed the nation’s banks. “We are now off the gold standard,” he privately declared to a group of advisers. Goldbugs in the president’s circle immediately began prophesying doom. One of his aides, Lewis Douglas, proclaimed “the end of Western civilization.”
The busiest subway stop in downtown Washington was until recently festooned with green banners and billboards warning of a terrible danger. One of America’s great national symbols is under attack: the dollar bill.
We’ve all grown so accustomed to using little round pieces of metal to buy things, it’s easy to forget that coins arrived quite late in the history of the world. For more than 2,000 years, states ran complex economies and international-trading networks without a coin to hand.
China Investment Corp. Vice Chairman Gao Xiqing said that central banks’ quantitative easing policies are hurting the value of money just one day after the Federal Reserve maintained plans to buy $600 billion of Treasuries.