Foreign Currency Markets and Exchange Rates

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Definitions and Basics

    Exchange Rates, from Answers.com
    The price of one country's currency expressed in another country's currency. In other words, the rate at which one currency can be exchanged for another. For example, the higher the exchange rate for one euro in terms of one yen, the lower the relative value of the yen....
    Exchange Rates, from the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics
    Under the "floating" exchange rates we have had since 1973, exchange rates are determined by people buying and selling currencies in the foreign-exchange markets....
    Floating and Fixed Exchange Rates, from Investopedia.com
    There are two ways the price of a currency can be determined against another. A fixed, or pegged, rate is a rate the government (central bank) sets and maintains as the official exchange rate....

    Unlike the fixed rate, a floating exchange rate is determined by the private market through supply and demand....

In the News and Examples

    Capital Flight, from the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics
    There is no widely accepted definition of capital flight. The classic use of the term is to describe widespread currency speculation, especially when it leads to cross-border movements of private funds that are large enough to affect national financial markets. The distinction between "flight" and normal capital outflows is thus a matter of degree, much like the difference between a "bank run" and normal withdrawals. The most common cause of capital flight is an anticipated devaluation of the home currency. No one wants to be caught holding assets that lose 20 or 30 percent of their value overnight, so everyone tries to buy gold or foreign currency....
    What is the Euro? The Euro: Our Currency, from the official website of the European Union
    The euro is the currency of 13 European Union countries: Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia and Finland....

A Little History: Primary Sources and References

    Gold Standard, from the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics
    The gold standard was a commitment by participating countries to fix the prices of their domestic currencies in terms of a specified amount of gold. National money and other forms of money (bank deposits and notes) were freely converted into gold at the fixed price. England adopted a de facto gold standard in 1717 after the master of the mint, Sir Isaac Newton, overvalued the silver guinea and formally adopted the gold standard in 1819. The United States, though formally on a bimetallic (gold and silver) standard, switched to gold de facto in 1834 and de jure in 1900....
    Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” Speech: Mesmerizing the Masses, at History Matters. Transcript and audio!
    The most famous speech in American political history was delivered by William Jennings Bryan on July 9, 1896, at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The issue was whether to endorse the free coinage of silver at a ratio of silver to gold of 16 to 1....

    "You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold."

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