The Nation: Dollars and Diplomacy: A New Reality

THE sanctity of the dollar has been virtually an article of the American faith. Fewer and fewer in the land still remember the grim days of the Great Depression, when Franklin Roosevelt took the dollar off the gold standard, shocking the hard-money stalwarts in their plush club chairs around the U.S. Since then, however, Americans have grown accustomed to looking on smugly as other nations—among them proud England and mercurial France—devalued their currencies relative to the unchanging dollar. Last week the long-unthinkable finally happened: President Nixon announced that the dollar would be devalued.

The first formal declaration came at a summit meeting...

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