If you want to understand some of the big picture around the coronavirus, currency and what the Hoover Institution senior fellow Niall Ferguson refers to as “Cold War 2” (but what I call “The Currency Cold War”) then have a listen to this podcast from CoinDesk. It is a wide ranging conversation between Ferguson and CoinDesk’s Michael Casey about our disrupted world, inevitable crisis and what it could mean for money. As the author of one of the best books on the history of finance, The Ascent of Money, Ferguson has a very wide and well-informed perspective on the issues and indeed I quote him more than once in this book.
One of Ferguson’s central points is that the US depends to a greater extent than people realise on the US dollar being the international reserve currency. As he says in the podcast, the US has “an almost unlimited capability” to borrow in its own currency because the dollar is so dominant nand that “we are going to have a period of challenges to the US dollar of various forms and tenacious defence of its dominance by a US government that understands its existential importance to the United States”. This is the coming currency Cold War and it will shape international order far beyond finance.