New Standards Will Change Forex and the World Economy Forever
Ready to Hunt-the-Gowk and redefine Pi.
Yesterday, the US Treasury and Federal Reserve announced some new regulations to fix all of America’s financial problems. Buried deep inside was a small reference to activating an obscure “Metals Act” regulation from January 1945.
It seems that the US came very close to going bankrupt while fighting World War II. Some metals became so scarce that even the common nickel was minted from silver since nickel was needed for the war effort. Near the end of the war, the silver was running out and all the gold was being used to back loans needed to keep fighting. The Metals Act of 1945 was designed to allow the US Government to change the US Dollar from the Gold Standard to the Zinc Standard very quickly if the emergency of that time or any future emergency warranted it. The development of the atomic bomb brought the war to a decisive end before the crisis was quite bad enough to warrant activating the provisions of the Metals Act, so the option was never used. It has remained on the books in case of a future financial crises.
The recession that started in the late 1970’s brought America’s government closer than ever to using this provision. Even as the economy began to recover, in 1982, the US 1 Cent coin was switched from 95% copper to a 97.5% zinc core with a copper coating. The recovery that followed was strong enough that plans to switch to the Zinc Standard were shelved again.
The time has come. America’s current fiscal crisis has pushed us to a crossroads. The American and world economy is just beginning to recover, and even a small issue could quickly escalate into a another worldwide great depression. At this point, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has finally admitted that money as we know it is just an intangible social construct. It’s pieces of paper or bits of electronic data backed up only by the people’s faith in the government and that faith is rapidly failing. Something had to be done to prevent a potential collapse of the US Dollar, and the 1945 Metals Act was the only law on the books that could be used without endless and counterproductive debate in Congress. President Obama has now signed off on activating it.
The final activation of the 1945 Metals Act is now scheduled for January 1st of 2011. At that time, the US Dollar will be backed by zinc, and all US coins intended for general circulation will be made from zinc or zinc alloys so that the value of the zinc in the coin will be related to the coin’s face value (very much like the silver and gold value in coins when the US was on the Gold Standard).
Currently, the US Government is hoping that word of this plan does not leak out as they are in the process of rapidly expanding the vaults at Fort Knox and filling the new space with as much zinc as they can get before the expected price jump when the new standard becomes widely known. Needless to say, projections are that there will be worldwide panic buying of zinc at that point.
As you can guess, shifting the US Dollar to be backed by any metal would cause some large changes in world currency values before any of the hoped for stabilization occurs. Other countries will naturally take protective measures to prevent their money from being rendered essentially valueless by the US move.
Several directors of the US Federal Reserve have been in China quietly negotiating to see if the Chinese government will also move to this new standard in order to fix the relative price of the US Dollar and the Chinese Yuan (CNY), thus bringing stability in trade. Hopes for this unity have been dashed. It seems that the People’s Bank of China has instead decided it would be better to move the CNY to an Aluminum Standard. The effect on both the value of the Yuan and prices for aluminum is expected to be huge. As a side note, there is an unconfirmed rumor that a large unnamed corporation (rhymes with FalNart) that is one of the largest purchasers of Chinese goods in the world may start giving customers a discount at stores worldwide if customers pay in CNY. This will help that company both in paying for the Chinese goods it buys as well as to help it ride out the wild currency value fluctuations that will occur while these new standards are put into place.
Similar negotiations with the European Central Bank also broke down, and the rumor is that the Euro will be backed by copper sometime in mid 2011. Currently, the Bank of England’s Board of Governors is debating whether to move to one of these 3 standards but seems to be strongly leaning towards the radical move of backing the British Pound with titanium. This would ensure that the GBP will always remains the world’s strongest currency.
US negotiators tried to bring Canada and Mexico into the Zinc Standard, just so that all of the Amero conspiracy theorists could all say “I told you so”. Faced with this sudden divergence of financial policies from other world banks, the Canadian Central Bank has decided instead to reject all metal standards completely. Since the Canadian Dollar is also called the Loonie, there was some discussion of backing the currency with actual loons. It was decided that this would have made the foundation of the economy too vulnerable to poachers and there were also worries about which of Canada’s trade partners would be willing to accept wild birds as currency. In the end, it was decided that the CAD will be backed with a mixed basket of commodities based on the nation’s primary exports. Therefor, the Canadian Dollar will be backed by oil, lumber, and beer. Since none of these are easily minted into coins, the obverse side of all new Canadian coins will depict a tree, and oil well, and a beer bottle. Canadian beer bottle caps will have their value set at 5 Canadian cents. There’s also a plan for a new 5 dollar coin from the Royal Canadian Mint that will be the exact same diameter as a standard beer can and would be nicknamed the Brewski. Since beer cans are made of aluminum, there is some speculation that this is also a move to further improve trade relations with China.
Mexico is currently exploring a new currency standard based on beer, tequila, and tourism for the Mexican Peso. Their top researchers are hard at work on a beach somewhere in Cancun and are expected to file their final report any month now.
Following Canada’s lead, Australia and New Zealand will both link their currencies to their most important export. In this case, there is a show of regional unity, and both nations have decided to go with the Wool Standard. All coins will depict a sheep on the obverse, and bills will contain at least 15% wool content. There is word that the Bank of Scotland has noticed this move and may break with the Bank of England. If the Bank of Scotland really does takes such a step, this will herd all 3 of the world’s largest sheep producing countries into the same flock so that their currencies are all safe, fluffy, and warm in winter.
Knowing the financial turmoil that all of this will create, the Swiss Government has decided to hold off on applying a Swiss Chocolate Standard to the CHF, at least not until April Fools’ Day next year.
P.S. April Fools! Put down the phone and stop ordering Zinc and Aluminum.
P.P.S. If you still don’t know what April Fools’ Day is, click here.
P.P.P.S. Really, it’s a joke. Stop buying Zinc and Aluminum. Go ahead and buy some beer, chocolate, and wool if it will make you feel better.
P.P.P.P.S. I’m ready to flee the country if there’s a spike in Zinc prices and I get blamed.