SGC Book

"The Single Global Currency: Common Cents for the World"

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Chronology Towards SGC - (and about numbers)

Past to Present

7th Cent.


While the first metal coins may have been cast from bronze in China around 2000 B.C., it's believed that coinage in India and  Greece/Turkey began around the 7th Century B.C. (See Robert Mundell's 2002 essay, "The Birth of Coinage" for his analysis, focusing on Greece/Turkey area.) The silver drachma was coined in Athens around 580 B.C. and currency by that name continued, with minor interrruptions, as Greece's currency, until replaced by the euro on January 1, 2002.




As specimens of the coins of China, India and Greece/Turkey have been dated as being used in the other currency areas, one can surmise that they were involved in the first "foreign exchange" trades in the 6th Century B.C.  (With a goal of 2024 A.D. for a single global currency, and thus the practical end of foreign exchange trading, let's arbitrarily set the date of that first foreign exchange trade as 476 B.C., giving such trading, or Forex or FX, a run of 2,500 years.)



The first Emperor of a united China, Qin Shi Huangdi, implemented a single Chinese currency (and other unified measurement systems, too).  The currency unit was called the yuan, as it is today.

[Approximately 70.6 billion seconds will have elapsed between 221 B.C. and 2024, the SGC goal.]

1379 Monetary unions such as the Hanseatic League and the Monetary Federation of the Rhine continued until the Napoleonic Wars.  They agreed upon standard gold and silver content for coinage.  (see "Economic Aspects of regional currency areas..." from the Bank for International Settlements, page 27.)

Gasparo Scaruffi from Italy, proposed the "Alitinonfo" as a European currency, with every mint in Europe producing the same coins with the same characteristics, so as to create a standard currency.

[Approximately 13.9 billion seconds will have elapsed between 1582 and 2024, the SGC goal.]



The British colonies of Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire and Rhode Island shared a paper currency unit., by accepting each other's paper notes.  (see "Economic Aspects of regional currency areas..." from the Bank for International Settlements, page 27) See also, "The History of Previous Currency Unions" by Sam Vaknin, who called this union "the first truly modern example" of monetary union.
1732-1771 Coinage of the "pillar dollar" in the Spanish colonies.  This coin was used around the world, and could thus be called the first "global currency." It was legal tender in the U.S. until 1857. See IMAGE OF PILLAR DOLLAR

The 13 states of the newly formed United States formed a currency union, giving Congress the right to coin money, but not to print currency - a step not taken until the U.S. Civil War in 1862.  In the meantime, the U.S dollar gradually became the circulating unit as issued by national and state banks.

[Approximately 7.4 billion seconds will have elapsed between 1787 and 2024, the SGC goal.]

1838 German and Austro-Prussian Monetary Unions.  "Baden, Bavaria, Frankfurt, Hesse, Nassau Saxe-Meiningen (joined later) Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt (joined later) and Wurttemberg agreed on a monetary union with the northern states adopting the thaler and the southern states the florin with a fixed rate of exchange." (see "Economic Aspects of regional currency areas...") In 1857, Austria joined, but that union was dissolved with the creation of the German Empire in 1867. 
1848 John Stuart Mill wrote, "So much of barbarism still remains in the transactions of the most civilized nations that almost all independent countries choose to assert their nationality by having, to their own inconvenience and that of their neighbours, a peculiar currency of their own." as quoted from Principles of Political Economy with some of their Applications to Social Philosophy by Robert Mundell in "Monetary Unions and the Problem of Sovereignty"  January 2002. 
1862 U.S. passes Legal Tender Act authorizing issuance of paper money not backed up by gold or silver, later called "Greenbacks".

Latin Monetary Union established with Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Italy and Switzerland.  In 1868 Greece and Romania joined.  The monetary union continued until World War I.  The members shared coinage of the same values.

[Approximately 5 billion seconds will have elapsed between 1865 and 2024, the SGC goal.]


International monetary conference in Paris where a single currency, or currency union, was proposed for Europe and the U.S. by Napoleon III, but was defeated.  See Benjamin Cohen's REVIEW of the comprehensive book by Luca Einaudi, "Money and Politics: European Monetary Unification and the International Gold Standard (1865-1873).    Oxford University Press, 2004.

In Singapore, legal tender status is given to several foreign coins.


Scandinavian Monetary Union.  Denmark, Norway and Sweden (the latter two being politically joined until 1905), adopted the gold standard and the currency unit, the krona.

The union ended in 1913. 

1913 The U.S. created the Federal Reserve System, with the central bank called the Federal Reserve Bank.
1916 Edwin Kemmerer proposed a single currency for a monetary union of all the Americas, to be called the "oro", Spanish for gold.
1921 Belgium and Luxembourg formed a monetary union where each accepted the currency of the other, with monetary policy set by the Belgian Central Bank and "exchange regulations overseen by a joint agency." See Vaknin, above.
1930 Establishment of the Bank for International Settlements, the first publicly-oriented international financial institution, now headquartered in Basel, Switzerland.
1932 German banker Hans Furstenberg proposed, at the Congress of the Pan-European League, that a central bank should govern the currency of a monetary union.

Bretton Woods, John Maynard Keynes proposed a new global currency clearing system called the "Bancor", but the proposal was deferred in favor of Special Drawing Rights (SDR's).

[Approximately 2.5 billion seconds will have elapsed between 1944 and 2024, the SGC goal.]

1950 The British Caribbean Currency Board was established among islands in the Caribbean.  There have been inclusions and departures, and the Eastern Caribbean Monetary Authority now includes (in 2004) Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and The Grenadines.

Tibor Scitovsky published Economic Theory and Western European Integration  in which he favored a common currency for Europe.


Robert Mundell's groundbreaking article, "Theory of Optimum Currency Areas" published in "The American Economic Review". From this work arose planning for the euro and other common currencies.

1962 European Commission proposed a single currency for Europe.
1960s With the gaining of independence of countries in French West Africa, the CFA (Communaute Financiere Africaine) was born.  The CFA franc is now used by Benin, Mali, Senegal, Burkino Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Togo, Niger and Guinea-Bissau in western Africa and by Cameroun, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon in central Africa. (See below, 1994, WAEMU, West African Economic and Monetary Union, and CAEMU, the Central African Economic and Monetary Union.)
1967 Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore form monetary union, but Malaysia exited soon afterwards on 12 June 1967.   Brunei and Singapore have 1:1 currency parity.

9 September.  As part of his testimony before the U.S. Congress's Joint Economic Committee, Robert Mundell presented a plan for a global currency. (See his recollection in 2000.) He said, "The plan for a new world currency, on the other hand, is no longer far-fetched.  It is more practical than the alternatives, and I consider it within our grasp, perhaps within the next decade or even sooner."  (at page 44 of the Committee's Report of the Hearing.)

    Also, he noted that France's President Giscard D'Estaing had proposed a name for a future European common currency, the "Euron".    

1970 Retired Federal Reserve Chair William McChesney Martin recommended a "strong world central bank" in his book, "Toward a World Central Bank?", the Per Jacobsson Foundation, of the IMF.
1971 The Werner Report was approved, with its recommendation for a single European currency by 1980.
1972 Nobel Prize Winner James Tobin proposes an international tax to reduce the increasingly worrisome cross-currency capital flows, with the observation that the tax was the second best alternative, after a common currency; which he viewed as infeasible for several decades.
1978 The European Monetary System was established, which provided for limited exchange rate fluctuations, and introduced the European Currency Unit.  (Source for this and other entries: "A History of Universal Currencies" by Bryan Taylor of Global Financial Data.)
1978 James Tobin delivers address to Eastern Economic Assn. in Washington D.C. "...Triffin and his followers saw the remedy as the internationalization of reserves and reserve assets; their ultimate solution was a world central bank.... There are two ways to go. One is toward a common currency, common monetary and fiscal policy, and economic integration... The first direction, however appealing, is clearly not a viable option in the foreseeable future, i.e., the twentieth century. I therefore regretfully recommend the second, and my [Tobin Tax] proposal is to throw some sand in the wheels of our excessively efficient international money markets...."

13 March.  Creation of the European Monetary System (EMS), predecessor to the European Monetary Union.

22 July.  New York Times first uses term, "single global currency", in the sense used in this website, in a column by Robert Magnuson:  "[Artistic solutions to monetary problems] envison the evolution of a monetary system with a single global currency and overseen by a world bank."  The previous use of the phrase by the Times was to describe the U.S. Dollar, in a 20 November 1967 article by Edwin Dale.

1983 Eastern Caribbean Monetary Union formed among 8 countries.
1984 Professor Richard Cooper of Harvard proposed a single global currency for the industrialized democracies in the Fall issue of Foreign Affairs.
1987 In his book, The Alchemy of Finance, the international financier, George Soros, called for the creation of a single global currency, together with an international central bank.
1988 9 January, "Get Ready for the Phoenix"[a single global currency] in The Economist.
1988 Delors Report recommended a single European currency.
1989 The European Council approved the vision of the Delors committee, which proposed a three-stage transition in Europe to an Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) with a single European currency.
1990, July Monetary Union of East and West Germany, one of the first steps toward reunification of Germany.
1990 In his essay which looked forward to the year 1999, "Trumpeter - A Vision of the New Order", Myron Frankman foresaw international agreement on a single global currency.
1992 7 February.  Signing of the Maastricht Treaty, officially, the "Treaty on European Union" which committed Europe to a single European currency, subject to national determination regarding the currency option.  All 15 countries ratified the treaty by 1993.
1993 Herbert Grubel of Canada proposes a North American Monetary Union, with a currency called the "amero". [See SGC Links: Articles, 2000.]
1994 West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) formed from former CFA bloc (See above) with seven countries as members. Also formed was the Central African Economic and Monetary Union (CAEMU).
1995 15-16 December.  European Council at Madrid votes on name for the new common currency: the euro.



Author Daniel Burstein's 1991 book, "Euroquake" predicted a global currency agreement with a single global currency during this period.
1998 20 April.  James Tobin gives keynote address at Annual World Bank Conference on Development Economics.  According to the IMF Survey article, he said, "A single global currency might offer a viable alternative to the floating rate [system], but not soon and not without its own problems, according to Tobin."
1998 1 June.  The European Central Bank was formed, and together with the national central banks form the "Eurosystem", analogous to the U.S. Federal Reserve System.
1998 18 June. Rainer Esslen stated in a letter to the International Herald Tribune,"With a single global currency, the debacle in Asia would have been confined to corrections in the Asian stock markets..."
1998 26 September, "One World, One Money" in The Economist.
1999 On 1 January, eleven European countries began the implementation of the euro by beginning to use the currencies as a measure, but not yet issuing currency.  The 11 were: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Nethlerlands, Portugal, and Spain.  The euro was assigned an initial value of $1.15.   Greece became the 12th European Monetary Union member on 1 January 2001.

11 September.  Ecuador "dollarizes", adopting the U.S. Dollar with the hope of reducing inflation and returning expatriated wealth.  See 8/4/03 San Antonio News article, Ecuador: Dollar As A National Money.

28 September.  Denmark votes against joining the eurozone, 53.1% to 46.9%.

8 November.  The International Monetary Fund hosts a forum: "One World, One Currency: Destination or Delusion?" with Robert Mundell and others.

2001 El Salvador adopted the U.S. dollar as "legal tender", thus "dollarizing" its currency.  See 9/26/02 article in the Economist, El Salvador Learns to Love the Greenback.

1 January.  The new Euro currency was issued to the public. Continued use of the old currencies was permitted for another two months and thereafter it could be exchanged for euros only in banks according to each member country's rules.


27 June.  Formation of the Single Global Currency Association.

14 September.  Sweden voted 56% to 42% against the adoption of the euro.  Thus, the U.K., Denmark and Sweden remain the three EU countries which do not use the euro.  The implementation date would have been 1 January 2006.


April. Prof. Martha Starr writes American University Working Paper: "One World, One Currency: Exploring the Issues"  She wrote, "It is argued that, if the current pace of economic and financial integration continues, a global money may emerge that is better adapted to internationalization of production and exchange -- although such a change may be a long time in coming."

May 1.  The European Union added 10 countries, all of which are required to adopt the euro after passing financial stability tests:  Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

July 9.  The First Single Global Currency Conference is held at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, on the 60th anniversary of the 1944 conference.

[Approximately .6 billion (600 million) seconds will pass between 2004 and 2024, the SGC goal.]

2005 July 14-15.  Second Single Global Currency Conference is held at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods.
2006 July 20-21. Third Single Global Currency Conference is held at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods.

Jan 1.   Slovenia joined the eurozone. 

Jan 1. Bulgaria and Romania join the European Union, bringing the EU to 27 countries.

July 19-20. Fourth Annual Single Global Currency Conference is held at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods.

September.  Davide Furceri publishes article, "From Currency Unions to a World Currency: A Possibility?" in the International Journal of Applied Economics.  He wrote, "Moreover, the creation of a world common currency area is not as unrealistic as it might seem at first sight."


Jan 1. Cyprus and  Malta joined the eurozone, bringing the number of countries using the euro to 15.

March 7-9. Fifth Annual Single Global Currency Conference  is held in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Eastern Economics Association.


Jan 1. Slovakia  joined the eurozone, bringing the number of countries using the euro to 16.

2009 Richard Cooper's predicted implementation date for single currency among democratic industrialized nations. (a 25 year prediction from 1984 article.)
2011 Jan 1. Estonia  joined the eurozone, bringing the number of countries using the euro to 17 and the number of currencies used by 192 U.N. members down to 140.
2011 July 14.  South Sudan  joined the United Nations.  Its currency is the South Sudanese Pound, which brought number of currencies used by 193 U.N. members back to 141.