Smithsonian Agreement Collapses – Gold Ownership Resumes

Smithsonian Agreement Collapses – Gold Ownership Resumes


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In August 1971, President Nixon unilaterally ended the Bretton Woods international monetary system of fixed exchange rates. In December 1971, the Smithsonian agreement was reached, establishing new fixed exchange rates with a devalued US dollar. Thirteen months later, the Smithsonian agreement began to collapse. Once Nixon ended Bretton Woods, the official role of gold in international monetary affairs was de facto ended. However, a kind of pretend relationship between the dollar and gold persisted on paper. Private gold holdings in the US has been banned in 1934 when President Roosevelt raised the official price of gold to $35/oz. With the Smithsonian collapse, whatever rationale there had been for banning private gold holding ended and the law was changed. The first clips shows the early collapse of the Smithsonian system and Congressional desire for flexible exchange rates. The second shows the failure of an attempt to stabilize the dollar in that period. And the third shows resumption of private gold ownership.

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