Currency Wars (simplified Chinese: 货币战争; traditional Chinese: 貨幣戰爭; pinyin: Huòbì zhànzhēng), also referred to as The Currency War, is an essay by Chinese author Song Hongbing. Originally published in 2007, it gained a resurgence in 2009 and has been described as a prominent exponent of a recently emerged genre labeled "economic nationalist" literature. The premise of the book is that Western countries are ultimately controlled by a group of private banks, which, according to Song, runs their central banks. It uses the claim that the Federal Reserve is a private body to support its role.
|Language||Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Polish French, Vietnamese|
|Media type||Hardcover, paperback|
Reportedly selling over 200,000 copies in addition to an estimated 400,000 unlicensed copies in circulation in 2009, it was a bestseller in China, reportedly being read by many senior level government and business leaders in the country. Unlike other books within the genre, e.g. Unhappy China, Currency Wars has been received more positively by the Chinese leadership as its recommendations are seen as less aggressive towards the US. It was however criticized in Western media as being far-fetched and relying on conspiracism. As of 2011, more than one million copies of this book have been sold.
According to the book, Western countries in general, and the United States in particular, are controlled by a clique of international bankers, who use currency manipulation (hence the title) to gain wealth by first loaning money in USD to developing nations and then shorting those country's currency. The Japanese Lost Decade, the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the Latin American financial crisis and others are attributed to this cause. It also claims that the Rothschild family has the wealth of 5 trillion dollars whereas Bill Gates only has 40 billion dollars.
Song also is of the opinion that the famous U.S. central bank, the Federal Reserve, is not a department of state functions, but several private banks operated by the private sector, and that these private banks are loyal to the ubiquitous Rothschild family.
On June 4, 1963, President Kennedy signed an executive order, which, as an amendment to Executive Order 10289, delegated the authority to issue silver certificates (notes convertible to silver on demand) to the Secretary of the Treasury. Song says the direct consequence was that the Federal Reserve lost its monopoly to control money.
The book looks back at history and argues that fiat currency itself is a conspiracy; it sees in the abolition of representative currency and the installment of fiat currency a struggle between the "banking clique" and the governments of the western nations, ending in the victory of the former. It advises the Chinese government to keep a vigilant eye on China's currency and instate a representative currency.
The book has achieved bestseller status in China. Although acknowledging the book's huge popularity in China, the Financial Times described it as only passably entertaining and its thesis as far-fetched. Fred Hu, managing director of Goldman Sachs Group, said the currency wars were "non-existent". He uses in his review words as "a simple out of line, outrageous distortion", "many errors, out of context, far-fetched, exaggerated, or simply speculate, uncertain", and the conclusion to this book as a "melted mixed the ultra-left trend of thought, far-right tendencies, populism, isolationism, anarchism".
According to Zhang Jiayi, it could be argued that the "currency wars" series of books' goal in promoting the conspiracy theory is precisely to meet the angry psychology of youth.
The book has been criticized in the New York Times for promoting antisemitic conspiracy theories. The book says that Jews have been conspiring to covertly influence historical events ranging from the Battle of Waterloo to the assassination of John F. Kennedy, with the intention of increasing their wealth and influence. In this respect, the Orthodox Jewish press postulated that the material echoes traditional antisemitic conspiracy theories such as The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, The International Jew, and Nazi propaganda like Der Stürmer., although this interpretation has been considered unfair by some Chinese journalists who claim the allegations made in the text are true and that China generally has no history of antisemitism.
Several Chinese-American scholars also gave the first book negative reviews. Chen Zhiwu (Yale University) affirmed the reference values of the details the book provided, such as "what the Rothschild family did, how impacts the financial sector has on a country's development, etc". However, he finds the author, by that time the structured finance department manager of Hong Yuan securities, lacks financial expertise to be qualified to prescribe China with future directions. Zhang Xin (University of Toledo/Ohio) finds the book rich in historical knowledge, of which many he would not be able to analyse, but as a currency and financial system researcher, he believes the framework of the book is completely wrong and criticizes the book as lacking in "common sense".
The author responded to these comments by saying "While many scholars have voiced their objections to this book, they are aimed at the details of the book, not its logic or structure."
In July 2009, the book was followed by a sequel, Currency Wars 2: World of Gold Privilege (Chinese: 货币战争2：金权天下), published by China Industry and Commerce Publishing House (ISBN 978-9573265214), which the Financial Times reported as being one of the most popular books in China by late 2009. More than two million copies have been sold. In this book, Song predicted that by 2024, the world's single currency system will mature. He believes that if China cannot be dominant in this system, it should not participate, but should be self-hill, have their own sphere of financial influence.
In May 2011, a second sequel, Currency Wars 3: Financial High Frontier (Chinese: 货币战争3：金融高边疆), was published by Yuan-Liou Publishing (ISBN 978-9573267843). It discusses more specifically modern Chinese history, from Chiang Kai-shek to the depreciation trend of the U.S. dollar in the long term, seen from a currency war perspective. It pushes towards an isolationist financial policy.
- Note: A Korean translation of the book exists, translated by Cha Hye-jeong (차혜정), titled 화폐전쟁, published in 2008 by Random House Korea (랜덤하우스코리아), ISBN 9788925521190
- Note: A Japanese translation of the book exists, translated by Kawamoto Kayo (河本佳世) and Hashimoto Sekiya (橋本碩也), titled 通貨戦争, published in 2010 by 武田ランダムハウスジャパン, ISBN 427000620X
- Note: A Polish translation of the book exists, translated by Tytus Sierakowski, titled "Wojna o pieniądz", published in 2011 by Wydawnictwo Wektory, ISBN 9788360562451
- Note: A French translation of the book exists, titled "La guerre des monnaies - La Chine et le nouvel ordre mondial", published in 2013 by Le retour aux sources, ISBN 9782355120541
- Wong, Edward (2008-06-17). "Booming, China Faults U.S. Policy on the Economy". The New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-03-29.
'This time, the Chinese side is trying to change its attitude to be more active, to be more aggressive, to balance the two sides,' said Song Hongbing, author of 'The Currency War', a best-selling if conspiratorial book on the American economy.
- "宋鸿兵简介". sina.com.cn. July 25, 2009.
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- "Currency Wars II". Archived from the original on August 30, 2011. Retrieved June 13, 2011.
- Sang-Keun, Kim (2009-10-15). "Currency Wars by Song Hongbing". Retrieved 2009-11-05.
First of all, the book reveals that the Rothschild family is the richest family with $5 trillion whereas Bill Gates 'only' have $40 billion. The Rothschild family's wealth is 100 times the Bill Gates' wealth.
- ""货币战争"：忽悠中的担忧". dw-world.de.
- "Exposing international financial insider power rivalry ..." (opening line; translated from Chinese by Google) Archived 2011-08-24 at the Wayback Machine, ylib.com. Also includes major section titled "Presidential Decree No. one thousand one hundred eleven 0: Kennedy's death certificate" and labelled at bottom "Excerpt from 'currency war' Chapter VII" (translated from Chinese by Google). Retrieved 2015-11-29.
- http://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Ready-Reference/JFK-Miscellaneous-Information.aspx discuss the "Executive Order 11110" Archived June 13, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
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- "胡祖六：子虚乌有的"货币战争"_资讯_凤凰网". ifeng.com.
- "Fred Hu batch shelling 'currency war' view special status is questioned: 2007-12-21 07:17:40 Source: Southern Metropolis Daily (Guangzhou)" (translated from Chinese by Google), money.163.com. The opening line reads in part: "Recently, the general manager of Goldman Sachs director, well-known economist, Mr. Hu Zuliu ... criticized the 2007 China's best-selling financial books [sic; book by Song Hongbing] 'currency war' as 'Simple outrageous, ....'" (translated from Chinese by Google). Retrieved 2015.11.29.
- Arad, Boaz (2009-02-22). "Anti-Semitism makes it to China?". Ynetnews. Retrieved 2012-02-06.
- Buruma, Ian (2009-02-22). "China - The Jewish Myths of Asia - Anti-Semitism?". Vos Iz Neias?. Retrieved 2012-02-06.
- Li, Bibo (September 9, 2007). ""Huòbì Zhànzhēng": Zhōngguó bǎn de "yīnmóu lùn"? (《货币战争》：中国版的"阴谋论"？)". The Financial Times Chinese. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
- "List of experts in Hong Yuan Securities". Archived from the original on 2013-06-24. Retrieved 2012-02-06.
- "US scholars have questioned the Chinese best-selling book 'Currency War'" (translated from Chinese by Google), voanews.com, October 4, 2007. Retrieved 2015-11-29.
- Jin Zhu (2009-08-20). "Pulling the strings of the world economy". Beijing Today.
- book.sina.com.cn, July 29, 2009.
- Official blog of 'Currency War' (Chinese)
- Chinese buy into conspiracy theory
- Review of Currency Wars
- Review of Currency War 2
- Mr Song's interview about "Currency War 2" on Sina channel (Chinese)
- Detailed Table of Contents of Currency War (Chinese)
- Detailed Table of Contents of Currency War 3 (Chinese)