In the game of Do You Remember Where You Were When Famous News Event X Happened?, Richard Nixon’s announcement on the evening of Sunday, August 15, 1971, that the U.S. was abandoning the gold standard is probably not on your list. But Nixon’s decision to no longer guarantee that foreign countries could redeem U.S. dollars for gold (at the rate of $35 an ounce) had far-reaching consequences, some good and some not so good, that still affect us today.
Jeffrey E. Garten captures the decision-making in high dramatic style, turning what could have been a dry primer on international economics into a brisk adventure. The “Nixon Shock” ended America’s domination of the world economy, hastening the rise of free markets and globalization and enhancing the power of Wall Street and central banks everywhere. The book is well worth its price, even if you pay in Dogecoin.