Preparing for the Collapse of the Petrodollar System
This brief article details the actions, incentives, and related consequences that the United States has created through its attempts to maintain global hegemony through something known as the petrodollar system.
If you have never heard of the petrodollar system, it would not surprise me. It is certainly not a topic that makes it’s way out of Washington circles too often. The mainstream media rarely, if ever, discusses the inner workings of the petrodollar system and how it has motivated, and even guided, America’s foreign policy in the Middle East for the last several decades.
This article will begin with a look back at the important events of the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference which firmly established the U.S. Dollar as the global reserve currency. Then we will examine the events that led up the 1971 Nixon Shock when the United States abandoned the international gold standard. We will then consider what may be the most brillant economic and geo-political strategy devised in recent memory, the petrodollar system. Finally, we conclude by examining the latest challenges facing U.S. economic policy around the globe and how the petrodollar system influences our foreign policy efforts in oil-rich nations. The collapse of the petrodollar system, which I believe will occur sometime within this decade, will make the 1971 Nixon Shock look like a dress rehearsal.
Brief Overview of this article on the Petrodollar System
years later, in an effort to maintain global demand for U.S. dollars, another system was created called the petrodollar system. In 1973, a deal was struck between Saudi Arabia and the United States in which every barrel of oil purchased from the Saudis would be denominated in U.S. dollars. Under this new arrangement, any country that sought to purchase oil from Saudi Arabia would be required to first exchange their own national currency for U.S. dollars. In exchange for Saudi Arabia’s willingness to denominate their oil sales exclusively in U.S. dollars, the United States offered weapons and protection of their oil fields from neighboring nations, including Israel.
By 1975, all of the OPEC nations had agreed to price their own oil supplies exclusively in U.S. dollars in exchange for weapons and military protection.
This petrodollar system, or more simply known as an “oil for dollars” system, created an immediate artificial demand for U.S. dollars around the globe. And of course, as global oil demand increased, so did the demand for U.S. dollars.
As the U.S. dollar continued to lose purchasing power, several oil-producing countries began to question the wisdom of accepting increasingly worthless paper currency for their oil supplies. Today, several countries have attempted to move away, or already have moved away, from the petrodollar system. Examples include Iran, Syria, Venezuela, and North Korea… or the “axis of evil,” if you prefer. (What is happening in our world today makes a whole lot of sense if you simply read between the lines and ignore the “official” reasons that are given in the mainstream media.) Additionally, other nations are choosing to use their own currencies for oil like China, Russia, India, among others.