New Internationalist

Fistful of yuan

Issue 410

Compared to the euro, the value of the US dollar has fallen 76 per cent in the last five years. So who would want to be paid in a currency that’s losing its grunt? Not Iran. It’s hedging its bets by selling its oil in a basketful of currencies brimming with euros and Chinese yuan. As it prepares to launch an oil exchange (bourse) which will trade in a currency other than US dollars, it’s encouraging the big oil-producing countries to do the same – effectively destroying the US dollar’s monopoly over the international oil market.

At the same time, US President George Bush is branding Iran the world’s worst terrorist nation and travelling to the Middle East to prosecute his case. Mere coincidence? Or punishing payback? Iranian political economist Ardeshir Ommani believes we are seeing an historic shift in the balance of power in the world. ‘The commanding power of the US, economically and militarily, is weakening. The challenge to the dollar is the beginning of the fall of the empire established by the US after the Second World War. The forces now gaining strength in the world are in favour of the people of the South and the East.’

Hear Ardeshir’s full analysis as he debates future trends with Asian intellectual and activist Walden Bello, in Radio New Internationalist’s programme Fistful of Dollars. You can find it by visiting the audio archive on http://interact.newint.org/fistful-of-dollars>

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