The latest conspiracy theory to begin to bubble up into the mainstream media concerns a North American Union (NAU) that would include the countries of Canada, Mexico, and USA. Within the NAU these countries would use a single currency, called the Amero. I am told that this story was mentioned this week in Mexico’s national news (I found no evidence of this week's report. Here is one from June 2008.) and that a video with Spanish subtitles is has been floating around the Internet in Mexico.
The video in question is an explanation of how the NAU will come to pass, a homemade workup by Hal Turner, who shows what he claims to be an Amero, minted in Colorado by the US government. Hal further claims that a secret shipment of Ameros was sent to China in preparation for the upcoming conversion to the Amero. Hal’s account of how this will go down is that the US will take on so much debt that it will default, which will cause a massive devaluation of the dollar. Then, the US government will swoop in to save the day by converting all dollars to Ameros, instantly shoving us all into the NAU. He claims this will happen in February 2009.
Sounds crazy, right? And I know what you’re saying: “Why would you believe anything from a crazy racist extremist like Hal Turner?” Yes, that is true. Hal Turner is a racist white supremacist. He is so extreme, in fact, that Sean Hannity had to deny knowing him. Now that’s extreme.
--So, this is still just a crazy conspiracy theory, propagated by ultra-conservatives to maintain a healthy fear of foreigners, right?
Evidence of the NAU theory in the mainstream media can be seen from the likes of Fox News, CNN’s Lou Dobbs (who is vociferously against this idea), MSNBC, and the Boston Globe, not exactly fringe organizations. Bush denies the NAU as “comical,” but former president of Mexico Vicente Fox has openly admitted that a NAU is a “long-term” goal.
--Ok, but this currency devaluation scenario is just plain ridiculous, right?
The scenario Hal describes is almost exactly what happened to Mexico in its economic crisis and peso devaluation of 1993-1994. Yes, that’s right, only 14 years ago. Mexico suffered a severe economic crisis brought on by it’s banks issuing too much debt, largely issued in dollar-indexed instruments, to prop up its economy in order to get NAFTA passed, and to push various government programs instituted by an big-spending out-going president. Sound familiar? They were also keeping the currency at around 2-1 dollar until NAFTA was passed, then they decided to let it “float.” Well, it floated right into the gutter, and the Clinton Administration bailed them out to the tune of $50 billion. The Mexican government then made the previous currency worthless by re-printing the money. Yes, they actually called it the “Nuevo Peso.” If you go to some tourist hot-spots in Mexico, you might find pre-crisis coins on sale as souvenirs. They are worthless.
--Yes, ok, but that was Mexico. That sort of thing doesn’t happen in the good ‘ol US of A.
Ahem, let me remind you that we just nationalized our banking system this month.
Scary stuff, but let’s think about this. Conservatives and Libertarians love to demonize this idea of the NAU as a loss of sovereignty, unconstitutional, treasonous, etc. Ron Paul claims it will be an outgrowth of NAFTA. To summarize him he says, “I’m for free trade, but I don’t like managed trade.” NAFTA is certainly managed trade, not free trade. NAFTA gave us a more or less free circulation of certain goods (but not people) peddled by major corporations. So, it is certainly managed trade. If the NAU is going to be a lame attempt to extend NAFTA, then I can see Ron Paul’s objection. But, what if they actually want to make it free. Why would he object?
So, I decided to take a look at another famous union across the pond to see what these unions actually entail. Here are a few random snippets from the Consolidated Treaty on the EU (updated 2008) that I obtained by quickly browsing the document.
“to facilitate the free movement of persons, while ensuring the safety and security of their peoples, by establishing an area of freedom, security and justice, in accordance with the provisions of this Treaty”
“Freedom of movement for workers shall be secured within the Community. Such freedom of movement shall entail the abolition of any discrimination based on nationality between workers of the Member States as regards employment, remuneration and other conditions of work and employment.”
“The Council…shall, within a period of five years after the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam, adopt: 1. measures with a view to ensuring...the absence of any controls on persons, be they citizens of the Union or nationals of third countries, when crossing internal borders.”
“The liberalisation of banking and insurance services connected with movements of capital shall be effected in step with the liberalisation of movement of capital.”
“…all restrictions on the movement of capital between Member States and between Member States and third countries shall be prohibited. “
“The following shall be prohibited as incompatible with the common market: all agreements … which may affect trade between Member States and which have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition within the common market…”
“the adoption of an economic policy which is based on the close coordination of Member States' economic policies…conducted in accordance with the principle of an open market economy with free competition.”
I thought Europe was a bureaucratic, socialist, mommy-state. This sounds like free market heaven! Ok, maybe it doesn’t work that way in practice. I’ve never even been to Europe, and I just pulled this stuff off the Internet, so I can’t say with authority. Maybe the individual countries have enough socialist, mommy-state laws on the books that render the EU Treaty impotent. And maybe libertarians know that if we tried to do this in America, our government would totally botch it like everything else. Granted. However, in theory at least that sounds like true free market capitalism at work. Why would conservatives be against something like this in North America? Corporate pandering? Xenophobia?
Why is it that conservatives and it seems some libertarians are “for free markets” only when it happens within the borders of the US? Whenever we start dealing with those pesky foreigners, we start to hear words like control, manage, limit, protect, secure, etc. That is not free market ideology. That’s isolationism and protectionism.
But, I admit that these scenarios are crazy. Our economy may crash, but I do not think that the Amero will be forced upon us in February. However, this simple thought exercise exposes a serious contradiction in current conservative/ Republican ideology. If we believe in free market ideology, let’s put it into practice, not limit it or only enforce it when it benefits a select few. If that can’t happen, then I give up. Show me to the bosom of the socialitst mommy-state.