The End Of the (Monetary) World As We Know It

This article was originally published on The Fat Cat Investor,


The most significant event in monetary history since 1971 occurred a few weeks ago. An event that threatens to upend the global balance of power, the economy of the world, and your portfolio.

To understand the significance of this event and the potential scale of its consequences, a little monetary history is in order.

For at least 5000 years, gold and silver have been considered intrinsically valuable, and therefore have been used as a store of wealth and as money. Governments and societies throughout time have used actual silver or gold as their coined currencies.

This gave way to gold and silver backed currency––|the currency itself consisted of paper or other metals of little value, but could be exchanged for an equivalent amount of gold or silver at any time.

This was the situation in the United States (and most of the major powers) in the late 1800’s. A twenty-dollar bill was worth one ounce of gold,[i] and could be exchanged for a physical ounce of gold at any bank. Coins themselves didn’t require such an exchange, as they were forged from silver, at a purity of 90%.

This was the system envisioned by our founding fathers and embedded into our constitution, Article I Section 10,

“No State shall… make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts.”

This system limited the amount of currency our government could print to the amount of silver and gold it owned. This period (1880-1914) is known as the classical gold standard.

The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 changed the rules, allowing for a US Dollar partially backed by gold, at a ratio of 40%; for every ounce of gold in the treasury, $50 could now be printed instead of $20.

Then the world went to war. Redemption rights throughout Europe were suspended, as nations resorted to the printing press and debt to finance the fight.

The US was late to join the first world war (as well as the second), and in the meantime profited greatly, as Europe consumed American goods––in exchange for gold. And by providing loans to the countries at war, America flooded the world with dollars.

By the end of both world wars, America owned two thirds of all the gold bullion ever mined.

In 1944, the world’s powers formalized a new monetary system with the Bretton-Woods Agreement. Under the new arrangement, the dollar officially became the world reserve currency––every currency would be pegged to the US dollar at a fixed ratio, and the dollar would be fixed to gold at $35/oz. Redemption rights for the physical metal would be limited to central banks.

Bretton-Woods didn’t mandate, however, a reserve ratio of actual gold that the United States would be required to hold in relation to the amount of US Dollars in circulation.

Over the next two and a half decades, the US would print 12 times more money than it had in its vaults (an 8.3% reserve ratio). As sole issuer of the world reserve currency, America could buy and spend without limit and without consequence.

Eventually though, other countries became wise to the fact, and unhappy with the arrangement. Most notably, French President Charles de Gaulle called for a return to the gold standard in 1965.

The fact that many countries accept as principle dollars being as good as gold…leads Americans to get into debt, and to get into debt for free, at the expense of other countries, because what the US owes them is paid, at least in part, with dollars only they are allowed to emit…We consider necessary that international trade be established…on an indisputable monetary base. . .GOLD. 

-Charles de Gaulle

Charles sent the French Navy across the Atlantic and successfully exchanged his country’s dollars for bullion. Other countries followed suit. From 1959 to 1971, America had lost HALF her gold reserves to redemption, a situation the United States could not allow to continue.

In 1971 Nixon changed the rules, suspending the rights of central banks to exchange their dollars for gold. Every currency was pegged to the dollar, but the dollar was no longer pegged to gold. Overnight, money worldwide became free-floating. The value of the dollar (in terms of gold) plummeted; the gold price exploded, from $35/oz. to $123/oz. by 1973. Dollar hegemony was under threat.

The United States needed another way to maintain control of the monetary system, one that would require countries to continue to conduct business in dollars, but absent of gold redemption.

She found her answer in oil.

Gold had 5,000 years of monetary history and universally recognized intrinsic value, but oil was the world’s most needed commodity, essential to a modern way of life. And, the size of the oil market dwarfs not just that of gold; oil is bigger than of the metal markets combined.

America was the largest consumer of oil on the planet, Saudi Arabia the biggest producer. An arrangement between the two countries in 1973 gave birth to the petrodollar:

-Saudi Arabia agreed to price its oil only in U.S. Dollars, and store their petrodollar revenue in U.S. Treasuries, thereby financing U.S. Debt.

-In exchange, the United States would ensure the continuity of the ruling house of Saud, providing military protection and American weaponry.

By 1975, all of OPEC had agreed to sell oil exclusively in dollars. This created an immense, sustained demand for Dollars, because every country would have to buy dollars to buy oil.

The petrodollar’s reign has continued to this day. Incredibly, it appears to be defended by a mystical, supernatural force…kind of like all those guys that mysteriously died after unearthing King Tut, A particularly nasty bout of bad luck tends to follow countries that challenge the system.

After Iran announced it would be pricing all its oil in Euros instead of dollars, it came under fire from the west for its alleged nuclear program, resulting in a litany of sanctions and banishment from the international monetary system, when it was shut out of the swift payment network.

Saddam Hussein wanted to sell his oil in Euros, and Gadhafi planned to switch from dollars to a gold-backed dinar…we know what happened to them.

Other countries who’ve sought to skirt or undermine the petrodollar include Venezuela, North Korea, and Syria.

America’s hostility toward that group is, of course, purely coincidental.

And whilst the petrodollar was living happily ever after, bigger, more powerful countries became increasingly resentful of the dollar’s dominance in their affairs.

Like Charles de Gaulle before them, China and Russia have been openly critical of the dollar’s world reserve currency status.

Along with countries like Brazil and South Africa, Russia and China have actively sought to sidestep the dollar wherever possible, often with individual bilateral agreements, where two countries exchange goods with one another using only each other’s currency.

But these protests have stopped short of presenting to the world a replacement to the petrodollar––in other words, an alternative system. A move that bold should be planned for, calculated, organized.

In the background, some curious and unrelated events:

-Russia and China have been stockpiling gold, on a level unprecedented since WWII.

-In 2016 the Yuan was finally awarded a place among the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Right Basket­­––a form of international money––alongside the US dollar, the Japanese Yen, the Euro, and Pound Sterling.

If central banks had a boss, it would be the IMF, likely the only institution with the power and reach to bail out central banks. In the event of a New Bretton Woods, China now has a seat at the table.

Fast forward to present day. America is no longer the world’s largest importer of oil, China is. And Saudi Arabia is no longer the world’s largest producer of oil, Russia is.

And it appears the time has come to make a play.

This week, China launched the Shanghai Crude Futures Contract. What is it?

It’s a way for the world to buy and sell oil, without using the dollar. The contract will be settled in Yuan. Short on Yuan? No problem, you can buy as much as you want…with gold.

The implications?

-Disgruntled countries can now buy oil without first buying dollars, and do so with a widely traded mainstream instrument, settled in the currency of the world’s 2nd largest economy.

-All the money diverted to this new system equates to an equal amount of money not buying dollars. A decrease in demand = downward pressure on the price of the dollar.

-Increased demand for Yuan and/or Gold will put upward price pressure on the currency, and is incredibly bullish for the metal.

-If enough countries follow China’s lead, the petrodollar monetary system America has enjoyed for 40+ years could dissolve overnight, and the dollar could lose its world reserve currency status.

The economic and political chaos that would accompany such an event….

Three days after launching the contract, the Chinese announced that they will begin to buy all their oil with Yuan, instead of the dollar, as early as this year.

And just today the headlines at Zerohedge read,

“China’s State-Owned Media Proclaims Petroyuan Will “Shake People’s Confidence In The US Dollar.””

It should come as little surprise that the same week the Petroyuan was introduced, Trump released a flood of tariffs on Chinese exports – the first in a series of retaliatory efforts we could expect, setting the stage for an all-out tradewar between the world’s two largest economies.

There may be no easy way out of this one, but as an investor you can protect yourself. If your portfolio is entirely composed of instruments denominated in US dollars, now might be a good time to rethink the mix.

And what’s bad for the US dollar could bode well for precious metals, which is why keeping at least 10% of your portfolio in physical bullion is a precaution worth taking.


-Christoph Grizzard, The FatCat Investor


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[i] One ounce of gold in 1791 was fixed at $19.49, in 1834 at $20.69, and in 1900 at $20.67.

Copyright 2018 FatCat Consulting Limited. All rights reserved. Any reproduction, copying, or redistribution, in whole or in part, is prohibited without written permission from the publisher. This report is copyrighted and registered. k.463©


LawsofPhysics Mon, 06/25/2018 - 10:39 Permalink

Yes, yes, read "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" for additional information. 

Please you ignorant fuck, I just exchanged a bunch of dollars for Yuan!!! No need to have gold to purchase Yuan!!! It is in fact still a fiat currency world!!!

"Full Faith and Credit"

same as it ever was!

luckylongshot FIAT CON Tue, 06/26/2018 - 06:07 Permalink

The challenge to the dollar by the yuan is only a stage in the revolution. The truth behind the financial system is finally seeping out . It is  a combination of fraud, accounting dishonesty and a ponzi scheme. According to the BOE, 2014 banks create money out of thin air, saddle the public with debt and demand interest on this debt. This has the effect of stripping the wealth from the public and funnelling it into the pockets of private bankers.

Thomas Jefferson foresaw this 200 years ago when he said “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."

In this context the emergence of the Yuan as a challenge to the USD is a side show. What is needed is a return to sovereign money, where nations issue money, some of which has interest attached to it and some of which does not. Historically humanity has thrived in countries that have taken this step as the profits from banking start working to help the public rather than to enslave them. In the US the profits from public banking were so great that no incone tax was needed to fund the government.  

In reply to by FIAT CON

Snaffew Captain Nemo d… Mon, 06/25/2018 - 23:13 Permalink

I see another US/Britain (comex) led paper slam down of the metals coming again tonight.  The powers that be will not let the CONfidence in the USD waver even a tiny bit by letting gold/silver rise a modicum in price.  Today was a perfect example---even early on when the dollar was being slammed down and the markets were tumbling, they would not let gold go green and silver was taken deep enough into the red from the get go that it had no chance of going positive.  They are ruthless, power hungry douchebags that will one day have their ass handed to them by a consortium of countries (China, Russia, India, Turkey, etc) that banded together to simply outright and over capitalize the pigs at the comex trading desks with a flurry of non-stop buy orders.  Beat them at their own paper game.

In reply to by Captain Nemo d…

Blue Dog LawsofPhysics Mon, 06/25/2018 - 20:50 Permalink

There will be fewer and fewer markets for those fiat dollars. Other countries will be dumping those dollars because they won't need them to buy oil. Many of them won't be using them in foreign trade much longer either. Who wants dollars when the Fed creates a trillion new dollars every year to fund the deficit?

The article misses the point that oil sellers who accept yuan are free to buy physical gold at the Shanghai Gold Exchange.

The article also makes it sound like the yuan oil futures contract started today when it's already been going for a few months.



In reply to by LawsofPhysics

RedBaron616 Mon, 06/25/2018 - 10:57 Permalink

And really, why would Chinese fiat be any more attractive? Their central bank is beholden to the Chinese Communist Party. They can tell you it is backed by oil or anything they wish. At the end of the day, the Party considerations will rein supreme.

bshirley1968 RedBaron616 Mon, 06/25/2018 - 11:16 Permalink

It's not about being more "attractive", you dunce.  It's about having an alternative.

You do understand the concept of a "monopoly", right?  I know that when the US loses its "monopoly" hold on world currency, your tender ass is going to be in a sling, but that day is ever approaching.

The US monopoly on currency has resulted in what every monopoly results in, the screwing of the citizenry.  The guys at the top get filthy rich at the expense of everyone TRAPPED in their monopoly scheme.

Our own leadership has turned on us in the attempt to maintain their strangle hold on the world's reserve currency position.  It will only get worse from here.  They took the "goose that laid the golden egg" and turned into a debt ridden parasite that is sucking the life out of us all.

In reply to by RedBaron616

blind_understanding bshirley1968 Mon, 06/25/2018 - 19:05 Permalink

bshirley: " The US monopoly on currency .."

BU:The U.S. government has NO CURRENCY, let alone a monopoly on currency. All the currency the U.S. government puts unto the U.S. economy is a PRIVATE currency that the government borrows from the PRIVATE owners/issuers at compound interest. Those PRIVATE owners/issuers have had a monopoly, but the U.S. has been its biggest victim.

In reply to by bshirley1968

cpnscarlet Mon, 06/25/2018 - 11:12 Permalink

I thought the Yuan contract was May's AU story du jour? Not much happened then did it? Monkeys with hammers still at work in London and the Comex. Just keep stackin' and ignore the broken clocks.

blind_understanding Mon, 06/25/2018 - 11:57 Permalink

This article ignores 4 massively important points! ...

1) Since 1913 what we call "the U.S. Dollar" has really been a PRIVATE currency: the "Federal-Reserve Note"(FRN); issued by the PRIVATE Federal-Reserve Banks(owned by the Rothschild family and friends).
2) Under the Breton Woods agreement after WWII, America agreed to exchange U.S. GOVERNMENT gold for PRIVATE currency (the FRN)[1].
3) So the Rothschilds just kept printing up their FRNs and having front-men in the French government trade them in for gold at the US Treasury, then ship the gold to the Rothschild vaults in London and New York.
4) This went on for 25 years until 1971 all the gold in Fort Knox was gone, and Nixon had no choice to put an end to the "gold-standard".
[1] Service provided for foreign GOVERNMENTS only, NOT for INDIVIDUALS.



veritas semper… blind_understanding Mon, 06/25/2018 - 12:04 Permalink

Why didn't he have "no choice"?

He could have removed the MONOPOLY from the kosher hands of the Federal Reserve . That would have been a choice to MAGA.

And it is the only choice to MAGA.

And the Donald is not doing this. He is fighting, by all means , to preserve the petro-f*cking-dollar= the power of the New World Order=the Globalists.


In reply to by blind_understanding

blind_understanding veritas semper… Mon, 06/25/2018 - 13:31 Permalink

VS: " He [Nixon] could have removed the [currency-issuing] MONOPOLY from the kosher hands of the Federal Reserve."

BU: Yes, but he should have removed the currency-issuing MONOPOLY from ALL PRIVATE hands and restored it to GOVERNMENT hands. The problem is not that currency-issuing is a MONOPOLY, the problem is that currency-issuing is in PRIVATE hands. Currency-issuing needs to be a GOVERNMENT MONOPOLY as mandated in the U.S. Constitution Article I Sec 8: "The CONGRESS shall have power..To coin money" and as proposed in the Occupy Need Act [2])..

The idea that the problem is that currency-issuing is a MONOPOLY, and that the monopoly should be broken up and put into many OTHER PRIVATE hands, is a Libertarian Austrian-School idea, following the teachings of Ludwig Von Mises, the famous Jewish economist funded by the Rothschilds.

This Libertarian doctrine is the Rothschild's last line of defense. If all else fails, and their currency-issuing monopoly be broken up and put into many other PRIVATE hands, they are confident that soon they could own all those other PRIVATE hands, and be back in business as usual, withing a few years. On the other hand, should their PRIVATE monopoly become a GOVERNMENT monopoly, all would be lost for them.



FOOTNOTE: [1] Occupy Need Act

In reply to by veritas semper…

blind_understanding De Wilde Weldoener Mon, 06/25/2018 - 18:34 Permalink

Austrian schoolers want currency backed by GOLD.


In 1982 President Reagan's gold commission verified that the gold was all gone. President Ronald Reagan had been looking into a government-issued gold-backed currency. But he could not get a straight answer on how much gold the US Treasury actually owned. So he appointed a group called "The Gold Commission"  to find out. They found that the US Treasury owned no gold at all. They found that most of the gold was gone from Fort-Knox, and the small amount still stored there was for display only, and was pledged as collateral to the Federal Reserve banks. And that hasn't changed since.

Ron Paul (a Libetarian/Austrian-Schooler) was on that commission. So today when he champions gold as currency, he knows full well that the government owns no gold. So if the government were to issue a gold currency, they would have to BORROW THE GOLD at compound interest.

There is one group of bankers who own most of the worlds gold bullion available for trade. So if the government issued the new gold currency, they would end up borrowing the gold from those bankers. However, those bankers are the very same people who own the Federal-Reserve notes today. So there would be no change in the status quo.

More likely, those bankers would issue the new gold currency themselves, and the government would borrow it in exchange for interest-bearing Treasury securities, same as happens today. So again, there would be no change in the status quo.


There is nothing wrong with GOVERNMENT-issued fiat money, like Lincoln's greenbacks. ...
When the government issues n units of paper currency, each unit of currency can be redeemed for 1/nth of the wealth defended under the flag of the nation. There is no need for the currency to be backed by anything else.

When the government SPENDS new money into circulation at a rate in sync with the rate of expansion of the economy, each unit remains backed by the same amount of real wealth, and it creates no debt, no inflation, and there is NO NEED FOR AN INCOME TAX to finance government spending on public works.
The way it is now, the benefit of the expansion of the economy always goes to the private currency owners. If the government owns the currency, then the government and the people are the beneficiaries.



In reply to by De Wilde Weldoener

Omni Consumer … blind_understanding Tue, 06/26/2018 - 01:28 Permalink

So your solution to gold-backed money - and I'm the first to admit that such a system has significant challenges in the modern computerized world - is a rehash chartalist/Modern Monetary Theory/Magic Money Tree argument?

You gonna trust peeps in government, like Maxine Waters, or Ben Bernanke, or [any keynesian klown off the street] to make sure that the "...government SPENDS new money into circulation at a rate in sync with the rate of expansion of the economy, each unit remains backed by the same amount of real wealth, and it creates no debt, no inflation, and there is NO NEED FOR AN INCOME TAX to finance government spending on public works..."

LMAO, dude. 

In reply to by blind_understanding

philosobilly blind_understanding Mon, 06/25/2018 - 22:30 Permalink

the federal govt was given the monopolistic power to coin money for the same reason the interstate commerce clause exists, because all the states were fighting each other and th epoint of the us was a libertarian nightwatchman state without internal borders. it was to make the children behave, the almost completely homogenous christian white population whos only real differences at the time were bible semantics- imagine now if different states were allowed to issue currency. i mean really competeing currencies are a great idea, but that would lead to chaos without doubt, prices are largely a function of value, my 100k house in al is worth like 40mil in ny or ca. now i would argue that when you use a gift card you are using an alternative currency, you wouldn't trade a 20 dollar bill for 18 dollars would you? how about a gift card you were never going to use, know why, because us dollars are spendable anywhere, and that is the whole point, currency eases trade, competeing currencies, just like genuine liberty cant work ona  large scale cause most people are just stupid and short sighted. so to sum it up, the best system is not one that will always work. the austrian school is the only one that aligns itself with liberty, personal responsibility and a crippled govt in favor of individualism- nfortunately people keep voting themselves free stuff which empowers govt more and more. fuedalism never ended, the poor people wont let it, we just renamed it. hope you are as confused as i am about the meaning of life the universe and everything

In reply to by blind_understanding

ZKnight veritas semper… Mon, 06/25/2018 - 21:48 Permalink

Look at what happened to Hitler when he tried to get rid of the Rothschild's (Zionist Jews) bankers from controlling the currency supply in Germany.  The Rothschild's funded a massive war against him, then created a their own Central bank anyway.  Look at what happened to JFK after he announced he would abolish the Fed.  Why do you think the US (Rothschild's puppet) has been going to war over the last 50 yrs, simply to take control of the currency supply in the last few countries that resisted (Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iraq, Libya, etc). Crypto's may be the best alternative to Rothschild fiat, you can see the International Bank of Settlements is not happy about them.  They fear losing control of their monopoly.

In reply to by veritas semper…

veritas semper… Mon, 06/25/2018 - 11:59 Permalink

Great article.

It always amazes me that there are so few people understanding what the petro-f*cking-dollar is. Especially here on ZH , where you would expect more.

The US might and the fact it was and still is a superpower and big economy comes from that.

Let see how really great US is without the petro-f*cking-dollar, giving it such an advantage.

A little competition does not hurt, isn't it?

Why so afraid of competition, the Donald and comp?

Having the monopoly of printing money and spending on the expense of the rest of the world, this made America great.

Inconvenient, isn't it?

The Donald is trying to protect this. It is that obvious.

And , since the petro-f*ckinh-dollar is the root of the power of the GOBALISTS, the Donald is obviously one of them.

Only the approach to the preserving of the Hegemony was changed= MAGA.

Why can's America live with an alternative to its monopoly of printing money? It resists this to the point of almost starting a WWIII.

But, it will be forced to accept it.

Because : who has the GOLD and now the OIL and the manufacturing base will win this.

And it ain't America anymore.



Captain Nemo d… veritas semper… Mon, 06/25/2018 - 13:16 Permalink

Everyone knows that, which is why Trump is moving now rather than waiting till it gets much more difficult for you.

Create an economic crisis in China and watch the reputation of the Yuan take a beating. Even Central Asian Republics are realizing that regardless of whether they hold Roubles or USD or Yuan, in a trade war it is all too risky and are trying to shift to gold.

If it really hits the fan though, and the trade war turns into an actual one, not sure what they will do. Lug it around in suitcases feeling rich?

In reply to by veritas semper…

Scipio Africanuz veritas semper… Mon, 06/25/2018 - 13:27 Permalink

veritas semper, it's already over, only the blind, or those unwilling to see, don't acknowledge the fact. Now, for the imperium, it's a disaster, but for the Republic, it's 1776 all over again, there'll be loss, sacrifice, flowering of courage, ethics, morality, morale, and patriotism. Americans are currently living on past glory, now they'll have to acquire their own glory, for the benefit of their descendants.

Trump, for all his faults, is disentangling, if he tries to prolong the imperium under any guise, it's fail! There's no way, just no way, to keep the imperium. Neither military tools, nor financial tools will work. It's not a defeat for the USA, it's liberation from a deadly ideology, Full Spectrum Dominance!

Since the military is about the only institution with any modicum of respect, and since they are the ones deployed in the service of a mad ideology, it is they, who must honorably dismantle the insane contraption known as Full Spectrum Imperium.

They can delay, deny, or ignore that task but they can never dodge the historical responsibility. America can compete, if she gives up the delusions of perpetual unearned advantage.

Imperium Delenda Est!...

In reply to by veritas semper…

geno-econ veritas semper… Mon, 06/25/2018 - 18:34 Permalink

Not disagreeing with analysis but you would think Russia and China would form an Economic Free Trade Alliance because China has a manufacturing base and Russia has huge oil and gas reserves.  Only component missing is a large consumer base subsidized by government debt which is the United States.  When the American consumer runs out of purchasing power, it is game over for U.S global dominance and attraction of US Dollar.  In other words, the Federal Reserve must keep printing, Public sector must maintain spending based on debt and issuance of Bonds, and consumers must have credit in the form of mortgages, credit cards and loans. Question is who is in a better position going forward ?   Having a huge manufacturing base is more attractive compared to having  huge debt with a service sector only adept at creating more and more debt through gimmickry. We are approaching the "end of the road" and blaming so called "unfair trade"

In reply to by veritas semper…

Silver Savior Mon, 06/25/2018 - 12:42 Permalink

The biggest thing is getting away from the notion that there can be unlimited growth on a finite planet. Everything needs to take a haircut and slow the fuck down. 

It's too late now but it was a good concern.

Freedom Quest Mon, 06/25/2018 - 13:31 Permalink

All money systems are fiat even gold and oil and is how we have been financially enslaved and manipulated. Learn how this has occurred by reading the document or listening to the audio verion of “ Overview of the World System of Bondage and Separation from Life”. Footnotes and references provided. This will require some to remove preconceived notions of how the world really works. The Matrix does have an exit...

ZKnight FIAT CON Tue, 06/26/2018 - 01:27 Permalink

The COMEX would disagree with you.  They print commodities out of thin air every day.  Not only that, the price of gold and oil is based on this fiat price.  Please explain how a bank that has no gold can dump 1 years mining supply in the market causing prices to plummet?  It's called Paper Gold and Naked Shorting.  There is over 400 times more gold sold in the market than actually exists.  400 people playing musical chairs with 1 chair, when will the music stop?

In reply to by FIAT CON

Sambo Mon, 06/25/2018 - 13:44 Permalink

Thinking differently does not end thought. The rules keep changing.  The players keep changing but it is the same illusion of someone winning or losing. The fact is that everybody is a loser because of the universal adoption of the Thought standard. Just as fiat is not backed by anything but a belief, thought is backed by nothing but an illusion. 

karenm Mon, 06/25/2018 - 15:29 Permalink

"If central banks had a boss, it would be the IMF"


Ever heard of the BIS(Bank for International Settlements)

Guess not. Keep writing your disinfo bullshit

east of eden Mon, 06/25/2018 - 18:29 Permalink

"The petrodollar’s reign has continued to this day. Incredibly, it appears to be defended by a mystical, supernatural force…kind of like all those guys that mysteriously died after unearthing King Tut, A particularly nasty bout of bad luck tends to follow countries that challenge the system".

Well, no. The only thing that is 'defending the dollar' is that 165 countries in the rest of the world don't want to see their 'paper wealth' destroyed before they can slough it off on someone else, even though through stealth inflation the value of those paper dollars has been dropping by over 10% per year, every year, for the last 15 years.

As soon as there is a viable alternative, your dollar, is toast. And that time is not very far off.