How Much is the Dollar Worth? Past U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s (FDR) First Inaugural Address Shows why Greed Kills : Also in $$-Rich China

As Dollars Pile Up, Uneasy Traders Lower the Currency’s Value” – that is the title of Jack Healy’s May 22, 2009 piece at the New York Times.

How Much is the Dollar Worth and What is it Likely to be Worth Tomorrow?

The opinions differ. Some have uncertainty and fear, but all that we really have to fear . . . is fear itself.

In his first inaugural address, past U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosvelt addressed and confronted the nation with the problems raised by what was then the depths of the Great Depression. President Obama is today in an analogous situation – having to pull the economy out of the hole into which it has dug itself. Here is an excerpt from FDR’s words, which are still quite applicable today:

This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper . . . the only thing we have to fear is fear itself…. [W]e face . . . common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things….

Yet our distress comes from no failure of substance. We are stricken by no plague of locusts. Compared with the perils which our forefathers conquered because they believed and were not afraid, we have still much to be thankful for. Nature still offers her bounty and human efforts have multiplied it. Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply. Primarily this is because the rulers of the exchange of mankind’s goods have failed….

They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish….

The measure of the restoration [of the economy] lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit. Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.

The joy and moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men.

[Confidence in the future] thrives only on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection, on unselfish performance; without them it cannot live.

Read the full text of the inaugural address here.

The solution, now as then, is to roll up our shirtsleeves and get to work.

Whether in deflation or inflation, the dollar, higher or lower in value, will surely survive.

And to learn that money is not everything, one has to read about the problems that China has simply because it has too many dollars, 2 trillion of them. Paul Krugman in his April 2, 2009 article at the New York Times clues us in on China’s Dollar Trap.

There is a lesson here: greed kills.

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