Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Would Canadian dollars circulate in the US as a replacement currency?

Given the stability issues of the American dollar would foreign currencies like the Canadian (CAD), affectionately called the "Loonie" by Canadians, or Australian (AUD) dollar or even the Swiss Frank (CHF) become substitutes for the fading US dollar?

I imagine Canadian dollars (CAD) will begin bleeding across the border more frequently and permanently soon after the American dollar (USD) becomes worth less (note I said "worth less" not worthless) than its northern counterpart. But the real penetration of the Loonie into the southern states will come with the realization that the condition isn't temporary and that the USD is approaching near worthlessness.

Residents on both sides of the Canadian/US border are used to the daily fluctuations in the exchange rate of the CAD vs. USD and take it in stride often trying to take advantage of the situation by shopping on the side of the border that gives them the best bang for the buck (or Loonie as the case may be).

Look at the "EXCHANGE RATES" chart at the bottom left of the page. The "CAD/USD" rate is the one we're talking about.

If the Loonie catches on as a unit of exchange vis-à-vis the greenback in the USA the demand will be tremendous. The government of Canada provides physical money (cash & coins) for a population of less than 35 million people. The population of the United States is over 300 million. It is with good reason that they refer to us as "The Giant to the South" among other less flattering terms.

There would be pressure on the Canadian government to increase it physical money supply, but doing so would decrease the fiscal health of the Loonie. In a country experiencing hyperinflation the news that the foreign currency they were coming to depend upon was ramping up the printing presses might undermine the value of the Loonie here too.

Australia isn't eager to accept hordes of penniless refugees either. However I've been told that remotely opening a bank account there is possible contact: Addy Cheong Business Manager, Westpac Business Banking, Westpac Banking Corp.
There'd be little problem adapting to Australian English but getting there would be a long swim.

Switzerland is famous for it's clocks, cheese, chocolate and desire to stay Swiss. I've been told that opening a bank account in Switzerland requires a visit in person and a search for a Swiss bank willing to accept American deposits. Although most Swiss speak some English you'd be at a distinct disadvantage, language wise, there.

One solution might be to have an account in Canada, in Loonies, in a Canadian bank. Even now Canada requires some means of self support for immigrants I imagine those rules will get more stringent if a crisis unfolds.

Canada has (from their point of view) the disadvantage of speaking the same language (except Quebec) as us and being so close to the American hordes. If it comes to that I think getting in early would be preferable.

Of course there's the little matter of taking what you have with you with you if you must immigrate in a hurry. The most commonly considered vehicles of cross border wealth transportation are gold & silver bars, diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds.

The liquidity of these items is debatable. Unless you "know people" establishing the value (or even the authenticity) of precious stones, gold or silver bars might be problematical. Still Diamonds were one way some Jews smuggled their wealth out of Nazi hands.

In a crisis situation it'll be hard to get change for a gold bar or one carat diamond when buying a loaf of bread. Even a one ounce Krugerrand may be too much.

For what it's worth, my opinion is that gold and gems would be best for carrying wealth across national borders. Silver coins are much less portable in significant quantities but would be useful for stay-at-homes buying groceries in a TEOTWAWKI situation.

Survival sites traditionally recommend booze as "trade goods" for "survival situations" meaning hard liquor because Beer and cigarettes don't store well for long periods.

Yes Jim Beam and Johnny Walker would make good long term bunker buddies as would other brand name whiskies as long as you don't partake of too much the merchandise before trading time.

For medium term trade goods consider over the counter medicines. Most have about a year's shelf life (it's printed on the side of the bottle) and I've been told by a Special Forces medic that most over the counter medicines are useable (albeit with somewhat inhibited efficacy) long after the "sell by" date if stored in a cool dry place. I keep a year's supply on hand of each of the over the counter medicines we use and plan to stock up with several years worth if given a chance when the balloon goes up.

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