Essentially U.S. helps impoverished nations with infrastructure and other aid, but saddles them with debt in order to control them politically or otherwise.
The interesting part was when it came to Saudi Arabia, which had so much money it didn't need to take on debt to develop their infrastructure. So instead they bought America's debt as this article explains.
I lived in the kingdom from '82 - '04 which was quite an interesting time span to have lived there. Things have definitely changed as a younger, mostly western educated generation, returns home and social unrest cannot be quelled with unlimited social programs anymore.
Most of the Saudi's I know now simply take american concepts/franchises and spin them out over there. From hamburger chains to house cleaning services. Works pretty well for them.
The most annoying thing was the weekends were on Thursday and Friday, so if you wanted to do anything international with a bank you could only do it Mon - Wed as their banks were closed on their weekends and then U.S. banks were closed Sat / Sun.
I believe you can still simply walk to a certain part of town and watch an execution, along with a couple of hands once a week there. Just you know, if you wanted something to do on a weekend.
The Chinese realize this. On a political basis, they regularly buy up and write down bad loans with money the government electronically prints itself. This wouldn't work in our democratic system because politicized debt forgiveness is too obvious of a way to buy votes. Instead we have the fed buy bad debts from the banks in a form of politicized bad investment forgiveness, but the debts never go away and the taxpayer is partially stuck with the bill and hence austerity in the form of government bailouts.
I don't follow your point here. "Austerity" and "government bailout" are antithetical.
Did you travel around any? What are the most interesting parts of the country? Did you ever make it to Mecca?
How good are you at recognizing family names and power connections? Did that come with time?
How did people in different parts of the country view each other?
I just returned from a week in Jeddah and Riyadh. Here are some photos from a fancy jail. Housing some of the 5000 terrorist/jihadists in a re-integration program. Think about that, the jihadists get the nice jail, because they are rehabilitatable:
The most amusing of all would be safe ways and grocery stores would turn into night club entrances as all the women would be shopping so guys would drive by the entrance and hold up signs with their phone numbers on them. So front of Safeway on a weekend night would be all these sports cars, benz's Etc. Too funny.
Jeddah a lot more lax than Riyadh.
Can't get into Mecca unless you're Muslim. We took a wrong turn on a road trip one time and were stopped and made to turn around.
Check points outside every city. If you were a female and didn't have written consent from your husband you weren't allowed to leave the city.
It describes the length the Saudi's go to in rehabilitating jihadists - including getting them married!
This is infinitely more humane than the current US strategy of drone strikes, "kills terrorists" never mind the collateral damage and disruption it causes. Hell our DOC could learn a few things. Here, if you are ever once a criminal, you're a criminal for life.
>Here, if you are ever once a criminal, you're a criminal for life
OTOH, recidivism for sorcery must be pretty low over in the Kingdom, since the punishment for this crime (?) is beheading (!).
Yes the US takes part in that, but the organization is the IMF.
The IMF partially realizes their role in this, but its more of an outcome than a conspiracy. They've commented on that book in an interesting non-denial, basically saying that the GDP of the countries they've helped/subjected-in-a-giant-conspiracy is so low and such a small fraction of the IMF budget that it doesn't make sense that they would put much effort in it.
In any case, its just the terms of their contracts. Country can't pay, country must raise taxes or expropriate goods, or find natural resources.
To be clear: The IMF and World Bank are primarily controlled by the Western powers. EDIT: And are seen as tools of Western power by many.
The deal long (or always?) has been that a European runs the IMF (Legarde) and an American runs the World Bank, currently Jim Yong Kim. As you might imagine, the rest of the world feels a bit left out.
Or sell infrastructure to private industries (this is what the economic hit man interview I saw claimed)
That's not entirely accurate. Saudi Arabia was extraordinarily poor prior to Standard Oil of California's oil finds there. US companies financed most of Saudi Arabia's initial oil infrastructure build out, including the technology that made it all possible in the first place.
However, being older and somewhat more cynical (particularly after binge reading about the UK involvement in the Iraq and Afghan Wars) I do wonder if I should read this again - are there any materials out there that support his claims?
If anything it's a coup for politicians who want to push debt forgiveness as one of their platforms. Get everyone into debt and then offer forgiveness for votes.
Prices rise to what the market will bear. Cheap debt means the market will "bear" more than it would in a less leveraged society.
If everyone but me takes a loan, the price of tuition goes up. This means I now have to take a loan or not go to school (which means I can't get a job).
Same happens with housing. If everyone but me takes out a jumbo mortgage, prices go up and I now must take out a jumbo mortgage or forego homeownership.
As long as a degree is a required piece of paper to obtain most jobs, college will be a requirement. As long as rent offers no equity and mortgage interest (but not rent) is deductible, homeownership will remain one of the middle class's sole paths to the accumulation of wealth.
Today's wacky "in-deflationary" economic condition can continue as long as central banks hold interest rates near zero and wages are stagnant.
See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_rent
Similarly, "homeowners" are less likely to riot...
The question has always been how much U.S. debt exactly the Saudi's hold. This is an interesting historical anecdote, but it doesn't provide any information about the size of the debt, other than "much larger" than official figures, which isn't terribly informative.
At this point, Saudi Arabia needs the United States more than the United States needs Saudi Arabia. The OPEC cartel is broken, Saudi Arabia is running a massive deficit, both China and Europe have economies mired in the aftershocks of 2008 which cannot absorb the additional supply, and the United States is energy independent.
If the Saudis are even willing to suggest selling off their dollar-denominated debts, they must be either unfathomably arrogant or extremely desperate. My read is the latter.
They really must want to keep those documents secret. There is no way that a country gobbling up it's meager monetary reserves could afford the hit to the value of those assets as they unwound them, even if they sold them off very slowly and predictably.
Something potentially very bad for world security is in those documents. Something that would force us into confrontation with the Saudis. Something that could cause a run on the dollar.
There must be some extremely senior officials involved in that report. Whoever they are, they're senior enough that they can't be made to disappear quietly into the night.
If those pages do contain information specifically identifying financiers of 9/11, the United States might be war-weary, but you can bet that a massive majority of Americans would demand their heads on pikes. As much as I support the public's right to know, that's a very nightmarish scenario.
Basically, his thesis was that it was the transparency, after a generation of buildup of really nasty official secrets, that ultimately brought down the communist regime. Once it was clear that everything people thought was probably happening was actually happening, and worse, the whole thing just disintegrated from the bottom up. The regime lost all legitimacy, and the death blow was basically self-inflicted since it was the regime itself that started to open up.
I often wonder about that in the US context. What if a lot of crazy stuff that many people suspect has gone on actually turns out to be true, or what if it's even worse than some of the tinfoil hatters think, and we suddenly start finding out about it all.
I figured it would be some type of Wikileaks or Snowden-type reveal that would do us in, if it happened. But we may actually do ourselves in with an American glasnost that, just like the Russian one of the 80's, is done by well-meaning people in our own government.
I know that's not necessarily going to be universally accepted here on HN, where it's somewhat popular to assert that all politicians are the same, all the strings are pulled by a small group of global elites, etc.
We have contentious national elections frequently, and tolerate a high level of conflict and dissent in public discourse. This is not to say that everything is objective and equitable--it's not. But each viewpoint has a lot more leeway to pursue its own goals than in the USSR in the 1990s.
In terms of secret crazy stuff that turned out to be true, that does happen. The Snowden leaks are a recent example.
When the government could no longer coordinate production, Perestroika and Glasnost were last-ditch efforts to bring the Soviet Union more in line with Western norms. Unfortunately, since their empire was built on force, the loosening of the reigns only encouraged irredentist movements, until one by one the Soviet republics fell like dominos.
Don't get me wrong. It is a major mainstream theory that the liberalizing reforms unleashed too much information on the Soviet public all at once, causing a massive reaction.
I do believe Glasnost and Perestroika were the cause of the collapse, but it wasn't was because of the volume of information released. Rather, it was the increased freedoms to organize and communicate outside the strictures of the state. Free speech and freedom of assembly are anathema to dictatorship. Once that occurred, it was only a matter of time before their vassal states rose up.
The United States isn't quite as vulnerable to that type of collapse. You have to remember the Soviet style of occupation was absolutely brutal. The murder of anyone considered to be part of the elite class, including everyone from factory owners to the university professors, constant surveillance, and indiscriminate use of force were the first steps upon the Soviets gaining control of a country. The result was subjugated nations and people, not new provinces and citizens.
The United States doesn't have that style of federation. Its provinces are held together by a common national identity in voluntary assembly, not a single nation presiding over others by raw force.
I do also believe that if the United States' TS archives were ever opened, many things suspected by conspiracy theorists would be proved correct, even more would be proven false, and there would be countless other plots no one even suspected.
Don't say that within earshot of the American South.
What if that premise is mostly or entirely wrong. It's absurd, and entirely empty speculation at best. Extreme edge case scenarios very rarely actually occur. Most of the world has a very large vested interest in the US remaining exactly where it is: most of the world has gotten radically wealthier and more free during the reign of the US superpower, global poverty and inequality has plunged rapidly during that time.
Can you show that this is the case (for some measure of inequality), and that the US is responsible?
There is no reason the U.S. should be allies with the House of Saud. We have almost no aligned interests and very different views on human rights and Wahhabism. My hope is that the report is published.
It's worth noting that for now the Saudis still retain a bit of leverage. They could potentially start a kamikaze run on the dollar. They are our largest regional ally, and in very close proximity to Israel. We have very little knowledge of their nuclear program. Finally, they're a vital partner in the ongoing war with Russia and its proxies (Iran et al.)
Also, I cannot begin to fathom what would happen if a "Christian" nation invaded the keeper of Mecca and Medina...
I never thought I'd say this, but perhaps some secrets are better left untold.
Do you have an idea of whether their increased production has affected the fracking production in the US? Would they, in the long-term, have success in making the US more dependent again?
"They are our largest regional ally, and in very close proximity to Israel... Finally, they're a vital partner in the ongoing war with Russia and its proxies (Iran et al.)"
As I understand it, the Saudi Royal family derives part of its legitimacy through the backing of the religious leaders of their country, and the Sunni world at large - but many of the Saudi family itself are actually more progressive than the conservative country. Is there any chance that they want to or could push back against the Wahhabist ideology that seems to spout from the gulf peninsula?
" We have very little knowledge of their nuclear program"
How is that possible? It'd seem as though their supplies of nuclear weapons are precisely the types that we want to be aware of at all times?
"Also, I cannot begin to fathom what would happen if a "Christian" nation invaded the keeper of Mecca and Medina...
I never thought I'd say this, but perhaps some secrets are better left untold."
When the cube was seized in 1979 and the Muslim world thought the US was to blame, we got the glimpses of what reactions could be. We'd truly see the Middle East in flames.
The theory that a lot of people had was that the Saudis are attempting to push down oil prices. My family owns some property on which they're conducting hydraulic fracturing (not my call, I campaigned to have the practice banned in the state.)
There's still faith that oil prices will rise again, and investment, while reduced, is continuing. To the extend that the Saudis lower production, US facilities are already built now, and most of the mothballed facilities can come back online in a year or so.
2. As I understand it, the Saudi Royal family derives part of its legitimacy through the backing of the religious leaders of their country, and the Sunni world at large - but many of the Saudi family itself are actually more progressive than the conservative country. Is there any chance that they want to or could push back against the Wahhabist ideology that seems to spout from the gulf peninsula?
In brief, yes, and the liberalizing push from the royal family is growing stronger with time. Saudi Arabia has gone through great pains to construct a world-class university. Built in an isolated area to avoid the interference with the religious police, KAUST has an endowment of ~$20 Billion, which puts it monetarily on par with each of H/Y/P and is twice the combined endowment of Oxford and Cambridge.
KAUST has partnerships with prominent United States universities, including several in the Ivy League, and is headed by the former University President of Caltech. Most instruction is in English, men and women study side-by-side, and freedom of discussion is encouraged. There are also plans to construct a series of model cities along the coastline, following much a similar model.
Most recently, Saudi Arabia underwent a fairly silent transition of power to Prince Salman. Prince Salman is a modernizer, who very much understands that Saudi Arabia needs to invest its oil revenues into creating an economy that is not dependent on oil exports. He has the blessing of the King and the Allegiance Council, has consolidated power through as the official head of the defense, economic, and oil ministries.
A few months ago, King Salman issued a series of liberalizing decrees widely seen to be the result of Prince Salman's influence.  So there is hope for the Kingdom yet.
3. " We have very little knowledge of their nuclear program"
How is that possible? It'd seem as though their supplies of nuclear weapons are precisely the types that we want to be aware of at all times?
We know they have a nascent capability being developed south of Riyyhad. The reason we have little insight is that American HUMINT in Saudi Arabia is woefully weak. We do not know whether they have already have a weapon, whether they've miniaturized it, or if they don't, what the breakout time for them to develop one is.
Agreed, and unfortunately the only way to douse those flames would be a mobilization effort the Western world can scarcely afford.
I find it interesting that you've gone straight for "war with Russia" without bothering with "cold". I really don't like this second cold war because at least the first one was obvious to everyone and publicly discussed. The new one is conducted just like the old one through proxy countries which the players are prepared to burn down to deny them to the enemy, but if the chaos spreads to Turkey then that will be the end of the EU as everyone rolls out the barbed wire and machine guns to stop the tens of millions of potential refugees.
I'm not so sure. Assuming they had several hundred billion dollars worth of Treasuries, and further assuming that they dumped them all on the market, the demand for USG debt is sufficiently large that I suspect it would be purchased in an orderly fashion without even causing much uptick in interest rates.
"Orderly fashion" and trading (algorithmic or otherwise) are oil and water, surely.
enlarged on that for you :)
At this point that sounds like either of them.
Hillary has threatened war to enforce the deal, which is something...
Well, in isolation, sure. But in the broader geopolitical sense, it really does make sense to have at least one close ally in that region.
On the axis of prince to ayatollah, I prefer the ayatollah. On the axis of theocratic absolute monarchy to theocratic constitutional republic, I prefer the republic.
Supporting the Shah was a mistake. Supporting the House of Saud is also a mistake. Supporting the ayatollahs would be another mistake.
What the U.S. should be doing is to support the personal and economic freedoms of all people living in Asia Minor, and to stop making their sole points of contact the strongarm governments and/or rebel groups. Like everyone else on the planet, the people in that region just want one of two things: help my business prosper, or leave me in peace. The constant military interventions and arms support and political deals serve neither goal.
I also think you severely underestimate the strength of entrepreneurship as a social class, in that area of the world. It's not like they materialize out of nowhere the instant the U.S. stops propping up strongarm governments. They didn't exist in any signficant number before U.S. intervenist policies either. And by what moral authority do you draw upon to suggest that these countries should be modeling themselves off the U.S. economically in the first place?
I think the better policy is to leave them alone, in the John Quincy Adams approach to foreign policy.
It means you leave people alone, unless you have a mutually beneficial trade to offer them. If a country has no entrepreneurial class, you look to make money elsewhere.
The US has no moral authority to demand imitation. It just has money--lots and lots of money. And it lets its own businesses spend their own money relatively freely, so long as they obey most of the laws and regulations and pay most of the taxes and make sufficient campaign contributions.
So that leaves only two acceptable foreign policy sticks. You have the embargo, and you have the boycott. And you have only one carrot--access to all the money held by your country's consumer market and philanthropic donors.
The US could decide, for instance, to boycott all goods and services produced in whole or in part by children under the age of 16 years, or by prisoner or slave laborers. This would, of course, require detailed provenance records for all goods entering US ports, and voluntary certification inspections for facilities listed in those records. And it would make all goods imported to the US more expensive. And it would put a lot of child laborers out of work, even if they really do need to be working to survive. If you are an international supplier, you only need to imitate US working conditions if you want to export to the US. If you do want access to the market, you can't get there with kids, convicts, or slaves.
This is slow. Apartheid ended 35 years after the first international boycott campaign, and the actual impact of the boycott is debatable. Israel has shrugged off a boycott for a long time, because the US actively undermines it. The US embargo against Cuba never produced any meaningful result, after many long decades.
In contrast, you can charge in, guns blazing, topple a regime, eradicate its bureaucracy, and stir up its internal politics with a bayonet, then go home by the end of your presidential term. But it isn't going to earn you many friends.
What about Israel, Turkey, Egypt?
For good or bad, the combo of economic and religious power Saudis can swing is pretty unmatched in the region at the moment -- their only counterweight being, potentially, an Iranian state with smart people at the wheel for more than a few token years.
For the time being availability of oil for all nations through the Gulf states is as simple as keeping a US CV fleet or two in the area. It benefits all nations outside the region and doesn't require propping up repressive regimes to accomplish.
As in Germany, the bases aren't there for the US to protect that country but the other way round: to ensure that country remains US-aligned.
City officials in Heidelberg expect annual financial losses of up to $25 million, as a result of the closures of U.S. bases in the region.
"We estimate that a total of about 1,000 civilian jobs will be lost, when the nearly 8,000 service members pull out," said Diana Scharl, a spokesperson for the city of Heidelberg.
I'd love for us to pull back from a lot of these areas, but let's face it, when one country invades another, they don't call France, Ireland, or Norway to help them do they? They expect the US to be the world's defender from the bad guys.
1. This makes it sound like you are talking about the invading country calling for help. Which is probably not what you intend.
2. In point of fact, if its in Africa, the boots on the ground for any call for help (whether the problem which provoked it is internal fighting or international conflict) are more likely to be French than American.
So, let's be honest, the US is the core of NATO, and everyone else depends on US logistical capabilities if they want to deploy troops outside their immediate area, with the limited exceptions of the UK and France.
There is a very good reason:
1) The US needs a stable oil supply
2) The US needs global stability, for which the world needs a stable oil supply.
3) A stable oil supply requires a stable Persian Gulf region.
4) Leverage and influence with the most powerful nation in the Persian Gulf (with the possible exception of Iran, an enemy of the U.S.), is very valuable and perhaps necessary to stability in the Persian Gulf.
That arrangement worked for decades, and look what's happening now that it fell apart.
Recently things have changed a little: The US has become less dependent on Persian Gulf oil due to domestic supplies; there is/was a global glut of oil, making the world less dependent on the Gulf; US-Iran relations improved somewhat; and Saudi religious fundamentalism has gone from being their internal problem to a global problem.
Also, US policy changed: The US became a cause of instability in the Persian Gulf with the invasion of Iraq and the reckless disregard for the need to find a stable, political outcome for that country (no planning for occupation, etc.). Also, the Arab Spring created a dilemma: Support democracy or support short/medium-term stability? At times the US chose democracy, further undermining current stability (democracies would of course be more stable in the long run, but getting from here to there involves a period of instability).
The old Neocon argument is no longer relevant.
But most importantly, I was asking about US. How many terrorist groups in US does Iran fund, and what damage have they done to date?
For comparison, in the same time frame, US has actually invaded a different country outright, with a total death toll for its residents being on the order of hundreds of thousands even for the most conservative estimates.
And these days, said country manufactures a lot of goods for sale in US, and has recently signed a weapons deal.
I'm talking about Vietnam, of course.
The primary reason why Iran is the enemy of US today, is because US actively supplies its regional enemies - Sunni monarchies like Saudi Arabia, for example. Stop doing that for a decade, and I bet you that things will change significantly.
The problem is that it is a self-fulfilling prophecy loop - US supports KSA and others to counter Iran, which Iran [justifiably] interprets as hostile, and acts accordingly, justifying more US backing of its enemies etc.
"... and very different views on human rights and Wahhabism..."
With maximum snark - celebrate the cultural diversity. One of the most interesting features of nation-state-dom is that we can smile and ignore all that. Er, right until Wahabbism runs smack up into our Security Industrial Complex.
In reality, the judgements of United States' courts could actually be enforced against the Saudis, by seizing their assets abroad. Any judgement by a Saudi court against the United States government is likely to be entirely unenforceable.
Figures were published by US. ;) Alternatively, you can also consider that US is playing hardball and letting SA know that there is a 'cap' on the threatened liquiditation event.
How much of that nonsense is actually the House looking to influence foreign policy decisions? Based on the article, it sounds like this "add-on" facility is the go-to path for central banks to move money around.
Sigh, the British are constantly furthering their own agenda in the Middle East. Their HUMINT network is just much better than anyone else's in the region, and their active intelligence work is informed by a much more nuanced view of that portion of the world.
Americans like to do things from a distance, if they possibly can. Airstrikes, cyberattacks, drones, all involve minimal risk of casualties. The Brits have been on the ground, building their network, for far longer than the Americans.
If only they'd share more of the fruits of their labor. It's been a quarter millennium, and British intelligence still looks down their nose at the Americans, treating them like a rebellious problem child.
NB - of course the UK does a lot that aligns with US interests, but they aren't identical.
Their intelligence operatives are almost preternaturally good (or at least seem that way due to their extremely precise knowledge of the Middle East.) And unlike American intelligence officers, they have a much smaller risk of "going native." American officers are rotated every few years to prevent this effect, while the Brits can keep people in place for decades without the same worry.
Al-Yamamah is simply about money. The arms industry is corrupt everywhere
because such large amounts of money are involved. It's a real scandal and
a tragedy that this should override the rule of law in the UK, but there we go.
The UK is rather bad at state accountability; the central secret state is too
big. The US of course prefers to federalise its unaccountability and distribute
the abuse of power to random local police departments.
I'm curious as to why you think Americans are far more likely to "go native"
than Brits? Is this perhaps a question of people "going native" in the other
direction, like the Jordanian Royal family? Something about your writing
suggests you're an "insider" of some sort.
(This feels odd to write, as a UK critic of UK domestic intelligence defending
UK foreign intelligence, but hey)
every (out of 10 or so) brit ive met overseas and had a good chat with out over the last 3 years of being an expat has been a neurotic and/or belligerent asshole whereas most of the americans (out of 20) were able to communicate and assimilate with the local culture.
its become such a pattern that i wont even speak english to a person with a british accent anymore. quite a few of them are just looking for physical fights. so strange.
and thats the end of my n=30 overseas brits and americans anecdote.
The expat who goes to south east asia to retire on their blue collar pension might be a different kind of person.
What does "going native" mean in the context of the intelligence community? Why is it you think British don't have this issue? Why is it harder for the US?
I suspect the Americans have this problem due to cultural factors. The binding ethos of the United States includes a hefty (if not total) tolerance to the idea of nationality being less important than their ideals.
The chief unifying principle of Great Britain is ultimately old-fashioned nationalism. They have an expectation that other peoples should become more British, rather than that they should accommodate new cultural norms.
That's interesting. Why's that?
One eyeopener was part of his Pandora's Box series, A is for Atom, where he looks into the buildup of nuclear reactors on both sides of the cold war.
In particular how said reactors, at least in the US, were basically (massively) scaled up submarine reactors.
I'm sure most people would not believe something like this could be done - that actual governing and federal dealing is so hidden, through changing administrations, in spite of apparent transparency, like annual reports, budgets, hearings, and so on. It really puts a big question mark on the U.S. democratic system, as if that wasn't tenuous enough already.
Oh, and if anyone was in doubt about the shift to Iran, this suddenly being publicized as much as anything tells you all you need to know. It's a big middle finger to Saudi Arabia.
This story would have really surprised me 10 years ago but now I accept that the Economic Royalty (or Deep Government, or whatever you want to call them) use a lack of transparency to do what profits them.
If you own an oil field, you have to balance a number of factors:
* How is the price of oil changing, relative to overall inflation? You mentioned this one.
* Are technological improvements (either increasing the total amount of extractable oil in the world, or outright oil replacements) going to dramatically lower the price if I wait too long?
* Is it still going to be my oil next year, or am I going to be first against the wall when the next revolution comes?
My (unsophisticated, outsider) opinion is that if you see oil-producing countries selling as quickly as they can, that's weak evidence that they're worried about the last two bullets.
A deal with this structure as a preference seem extremely misguided, and I'm not sure if the secrecy was requested by the Saudis or by the Nixon / Kissinger NSC / Cabinet which was prone to secrecy for no reason. Either way, one more crazed "feather" in their cap that greatly influenced the future of the country for better or worse.
Let's consider equities first. A huge amount of invested money is indexed, which basically means not doing active investing but simply tagging along with the price discovery done by more active market participants. That seems to work out pretty well. Not perfect, but good enough.
Why can't treasuries be the same? There's such a thing as a "noncompetitive bid", which means you agree to purchase Treasuries at the same price that the smarter money chose to purchase at.
Right now there are low limits on how much can be bought by noncompetitive bids. But perhaps the Saudi's just get that price for however much they want to buy? The treasury market is huge huge huge. It probably remains reasonably "transparent" regardless of what the Saudis buy.
Sort of like that J. Paul Getty Quote: "If you owe the bank $100 that's your problem. If you owe the bank $100 million, that's the bank's problem."
Makes me wonder if we have a similar deal with China: we sacrifice our industrial sector (no other nation allowed that to happen) in exchange for bond buying?
I don't know about "sacrifice our industrial sector" thing, either. The US is the world's second largest exporter. Those exports just happen to be somewhat less visible since they include a lot of things outside of consumer goods. You can walk around the US and see all the Chinese-made phones and think, "China sure makes a lot of stuff." But most people won't walk around China and see all the US-made airliners and think, "The US sure makes a lot of stuff too."
The US manufactures more than ever before, it just takes fewer jobs to do so.
Isn't currency backed by commodities considered something other than fiat currency?
Gas was always pumped by the attendant. When you got to the pump, he would tell you how much gas you could have. Five gallons was common.
My parents were small business owners. The embargo put their business at the edge.
We've banned this account.