To most Americans, the term "quantitative easing" is arcane economic jargon, introduced following the global financial crisis and, like most policies intended to spur recovery, yet to make much progress in reducing unemployment.
Yet to author James Rickards, QE, as it is known, is the United States' secret weapon in an unfolding global war — one fought not with soldiers, tanks or drones but with currencies.
In driving down long-term interest rates by flooding the market with freshly printed currency, the policy, Rickards says, is a combative attempt to boost U.S. exports by weakening the dollar while undermining the competitiveness of China and other U.S. trading partners.
As he argues in his new book, Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis, QE is an "exercise in deception" that offers little chance of promoting long-term economic recovery. Worse, it has left the dollar highly vulnerable to speculation and, ultimately, a cataclysmic crash.