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The Rise and Fall and Rise (and Fall) of the U.S. Financial Empire

The dollar is dead. Long live the dollar. If 2020 confirmed one thing, it was the centrality of the dollar to the global economy. U.S. hegemony may already have passed us in a political and strategic sense, but U.S. financial influence is proving more enduring. This is reassuring in the sense that the U.S. Federal Reserve has once again acted as a responsive and generous steward of the dollar-based financial system. But it is also a cause of puzzlement and frustration. While China and Russia experiment with alternatives to the dollar-based payment system, in Europe the buzzword of the day is “strategic autonomy.” Given the increasing aggression of Washington’s financial sanctions, compounded by the capriciousness of the presidency of Donald Trump, this is hardly surprising. It is an obvious reaction to the weaponization of interdependence. It is far from obvious to critics that dollar hegemony is an unalloyed blessing.

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Light in the tunnel or oncoming train?

In the final weeks of 2020 an optimist might see light at the end of the tunnel. Europe was hit hard by the second wave of Covid-19. But it is being brought under control. Several vaccines are in the pipeline and European manufacturers lead the race. Inoculation of the most vulnerable may begin even before the year is out. Then restrictions can be lifted. Social life will get back to normal. This optimistic narrative is indeed itself a force to be reckoned with. As a self-fulfilling prophecy, it helps to bolster confidence and with it economic recovery. By analogy with the timeline of the eurozone crisis, one might think that we are back, eight years ago, in late 2012, in the months after the president of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, had cast a magic spell with his ‘whatever it takes’ commitment. For tens

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Biden will have the presidency. But Republicans still have the power

With a slim majority in Congress, the president-elect lacks a solid base. The past teaches us what may happen. President Trump’s efforts to overturn the outcome of the 3 November election, which appear to be over, provided his opponents with a source of sadistic amusement. Trump’s self-humiliation in the eyes of the liberal world is complete. To his followers, of course, the fight goes on. And his Republican colleagues have reason to be cheerful. We should not allow the schadenfreude to distract us from this basic fact. Yes, Biden defeated Trump. But in that same election the Democrats failed to gain the majority of seats that the new president needs to actually put an end to the era of Republican dominance. Things might still go right in Georgia, but that would leave the Senate hanging by a thread. Four times, at moments of historic crisis,

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Adam Tooze on Wages of Destruction and the Nazi economy

Prof. Adam Tooze ist spätestens seit seinem Bestseller “Crashed. Wie zehn Jahre Finanzkrise die Welt verändert haben” einer der bekanntesten Wirtschaftshistoriker der Welt. Im 10. Wfa-Spezial spricht er nun mit Ole Nymoen über das nationalsozialistische Wirtschaftssystem, das er in “Die Ökonomie der Zerstörung” präzise analysiert hat. Adam Tooze über die

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Adam Tooze on the corona crisis and its impact on world economy

Böll.Thema – Welt im Umbruch – Adam Tooze im Gespräch Für das Magazin „Böll.Thema“ führte der Referent Internationale Politik der Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, Jörg Haas, ein Gespräch mit dem Wirtschaftshistoriker Adam Tooze (Columbia University, New York). Im Zentrum des Gesprächs stehen die Umbrüche des Jahres 2020: Die Pandemie und ihre Folgen, die

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on bookshelves

Look out for Adam’s next books, Shutdown: The Global Crises of 2020 coming to print in 2021, and Carbon, out in 2023.

on air

Discussion with Wolfgang Schäuble

WEF 2020: Why Protests Are An Integral Part Of Democracy

GZERO World with Ian Bremmer – Is a 2nd Great Depression Coming?

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Journalism & Interviews

Chartbook

Sign up below for Adam’s bi-weekly newsletter, which includes economic data, images, & stories that matter.

on bookshelves

Look out for Adam’s next books, Shutdown: The Global Crises of 2020 coming to print in 2021, and Carbon, out in 2023.

on air

Discussion with Wolfgang Schäuble

WEF 2020: Why Protests Are An Integral Part Of Democracy

GZERO World with Ian Bremmer – Is a 2nd Great Depression Coming?

on record
on the blog