American Madness

Intelligent Criticism in the Service of a Better Nation

USD, What Is It Good For? Absolutely Nothing….

Posted by Matt Cipriano | 11 Comments

Well, at least if you are in the Netherlands.

Apparently, as the value of the dollar drops (and the Euro inflates) some small currency exchange locations in Amsterdam will no longer accept US Dollars since their value is dropping at such an alarming rate. The exchanges are concerned that if the make a currency exchange, by the time they try to sell their dollars they will be worth even less then they are already worth.

Now, since currency rates change on an hourly basis there are some built in safe guards for such problems, they create a spread so that if you sell currency at an accepted rate you won’t be losing money on it. The US dollar is currently dropping faster then the spread will cover. To get a better understanding of the currency exchange market, check out the Wikipedia entry and try and get through all of it. I wish you luck in your endeavor.

But on the bright side… Um, doesn’t Washington look happy dancing with the dollar bill?


11 Responses to “USD, What Is It Good For? Absolutely Nothing….”

  1. Eric Hazard
    March 19th, 2008 @

    You should’ve pair the dancing Washington with the previously submitted dancing dollar sign (Commerce bank post).

  2. Joel Friedlander
    March 19th, 2008 @

    I can fully understand the angst that the Dutch have over the instability of our dollar. After all, what have we ever done for them. Well, we did lend them a few dollars a few years ago. Please look at this chart about that. These are the figures of monies given to the European countries under the Marshall Plan. I don’t believe that most of them ever paid it back to us. Moreover, our aid made their EU possible.

    Country 1948/49 1949/50 1950/51

    Austria Austria 232 166 70 468
    Belgium Luxembourg195 222 360 777
    Denmark 103 87 195 385
    France 1,085 691 520 2,296
    Germany 510 438 500 1,448
    Greece 175 156 45 366
    Iceland 6 22 15 43
    Ireland 88 45 — 133
    Italy 594 405 205 1,204
    Netherlands 471 302 355 1,128
    Norway 82 90 200 372
    Portugal — — 70 70
    Sweden 39 48 260 347
    Switzerland — — 250 250
    Turkey 28 59 50 137
    United Kingdom 1,316 921 1,060 3,297
    Totals 4,924 3,652 4,155 12,721

    I think that perhaps they ought to take our currency no matter how often they lose a few decimals on the deal.

  3. Joel Friedlander
    March 19th, 2008 @

    Ok, I goofed. The numbers are in millions of dollars. Note that the Netherlands was given $2,245,000,000. A little gratitude is perhaps in order.

  4. Josh Friedlander
    March 19th, 2008 @

    Are these indexed for inflation?

  5. Joel L. Friedlander
    March 19th, 2008 @

    The chart said that they were in millions but the chart said billions so I’m not sure. I would think that they are if they are in billions, with some of the aid being in the trillions today.

  6. Joel L. Friedlander
    March 19th, 2008 @

    The Marshall Plan aid was divided amongst the participant states on a roughly per capita basis. A larger amount was given to the major industrial powers, as the prevailing opinion was that their resuscitation was essential for general European revival. Somewhat more aid per capita was also directed towards the Allied nations, with less for those that had been part of the Axis or remained neutral. The table below shows Marshall Plan aid by country and year (in millions of dollars) from The Marshall Plan Fifty Years Later. There is no clear consensus on exact amounts, as different scholars differ on exactly what elements of American aid during this period was part of the Marshall Plan. Note, that the chart itself said billions of dollars. There is no indication of any adaptation for inflation.

  7. Joel L. Friedlander
    March 19th, 2008 @

    ^ The $12 billion compares to the U.S. gross domestic product of $41 billion in 1949.

  8. Josh Friedlander
    March 19th, 2008 @

    From an interesting article I came across:

    The original Marshall Plan cost over $90 billion in today’s dollars and assisted large masses of people in the seventeen Western European countries that benefited from it. The Marshall Plan helped European nations to overcome the devastation of the Second World War. As a direct or indirect result of this plan, thousands of miles of roads and rail tracks were built or repaired, thousands of factories were retooled and put into operation, hundreds of ports, dams, hospitals, schools, and public parks and installations were repaired or built anew, and last but not least, thousands of people who had lost their businesses and houses to the war or to the Nazis were assisted to regain their source of income and rebuild their livelihoods. Nothing of the sort has happened in Afghanistan so far. The country is still living in the same devastated, appalling conditions as three years ago.

    It is not difficult to imagine how a genuine Marshall Plan for Afghanistan would look like. Afghanistan has about 20,000 villages. Each village needs six items if it is to serve as a peaceful and pleasant habitat for its people: Electricity, clean water, a clinic, a school, a mosque, and a decent road to the next village. If providing each village with these items cost about $2 million, the total cost of rebuilding all of the villages of Afghanistan will be about $40 billion. If each year 2000 villages are rebuilt, it will take about ten years for all villages of Afghanistan to regain life. The yearly cost of this rebuilding crusade will be about $4 billion. If such a Marshall Plan had been in place in the last 2½ years, to this date, some 6000 Afghan villages would have began to live in peace, would have been empowered to deny shelter to those who monger war, and would have declined to strengthen and sustain the drug Mafia that has taken over the country and its government. In such a case, the cost of the Afghan Marshal Plan would have been about $40 billion, i.e., $10 billion less than the cost of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan during the last 2½ years. This cost-savings and the direct and indirect advantages of this simple, commonsensical plan would have been enormous for both the United States and Afghanistan.

  9. Josh Friedlander
    March 19th, 2008 @

    Marshall Plan Aid (from Wikipedia):
    Obviously, the headers are wrong. Should be millions.

    marshall plan expenses - money spent per country aided

    I’ve seen varying totals for what the Marshall plan would cost in today’s dollars (some say $90 billion, others $100 billion), but I get $110 billion using the inflation calculator.

  10. Joel L. Friedlander
    March 19th, 2008 @

    That is the chart I used; how did you move it wholesale? The difference between what happened in Europe and what is happening in Afghanistan is the difference between a Democratic administration headed by Harry Truman and a Republican administration headed by George W. Bush. If George C. Marshall, OHS, were alive today and presented such a plan to the Republican administration he would be soundly rejected because of both the costs and the indifference to human suffering.

    The ideologies of the two administrations were so vastly different that the Marshall Plan would never come off today. The current leadership of the United States if so very concerned with itself, and is so unconcerned with the rest of the World. Remember also, that in 1946 during the early planning stages we were in a recession which followed the War.

    The current administration talks about being interested in improving the World by spreading democracy when there is suffering all over. Democracy doesn’t prevent suffering.

    In 1941 President Roosevelt proposed:
    “In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

    The first is freedom of speech and expression–everywhere in the world.

    The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way–everywhere in the world.

    The third is freedom from want–which, translated into universal terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants-everywhere in the world.

    The fourth is freedom from fear–which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor–anywhere in the world.

    That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. …”

    We have failed that great president in our own time.

    Everywhere there is no freedom from want; people are starving and we, the largest breadbasket in the World will not provide them with food.

    Everywhere people are in fear, in Iraq, in Kenya, in Somalia, in China, and countless other places.

    In Russia and China and in so many other places there is no freedom of Speech of speech and expression.

    And there is no freedom of religion anywhere in the Middle East except for one despised little sliver of land, and little of it in places like China.

    We are surely a failure as a World leader, but perhaps things will change.

  11. Josh Friedlander
    March 19th, 2008 @

    It was not easy to move. I did a screen capture of the wikipedia page, then pasted that image into a graphic editing program and cropped it so that I was left with only the chart. Then I had to upload the chart to our site, create a link and past that link into the comments section, which I think only editors can do. Pain in da but.

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