University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame

America - Europe

A Transatlantic Diary 1961 - 1989

Klaus Lanzinger

South Bend, August 20, 1971

The Financial Crisis

Nothing could have shaken Europe, parts of South America and Asia more than President Nixon’s announcement over the television networks last Sunday, August 15, that the United States will no longer convert the dollar into the gold parity of $35 an ounce. This means indeed a drastic change in the international monetary system which has been based on the gold parity of the U.S. dollar since the Bretton Woods agreement of July 1944. Coupled with a 90 day price and wage freeze at home as well as a 10% surcharge on foreign imports, it certainly is the most drastic turnabout in U.S. economic policy since World War II. While the United States concentrates on the price and wage freeze, foreign countries are struggling to find new parities to the dollar. Since the Common Market finance ministers could not agree on a binding solution, outright chaos is threatening the financial markets. Each individual country is trying to adopt a policy that will best guard its own interests. The floating dollar parity actually signifies a devaluation of the dollar, but this has been long overdue in any case.

St. Ignace, Michigan, [End of August], 1971

Northern Michigan

Coming from abroad, one is taken by surprise by how much of the original pioneer spirit is still alive in Northern Michigan. The areas by the Manistee and Huron National Forests near Houghton Lake offer enough room for those enterprising folks who like to live in trailer homes, clear a patch of land, and grow some corn. The atmosphere of the lumber camp still prevails immediately adjacent to an ultra-modern Ford automobile plant. In the Upper Peninsula, north of Mackinac Bridge, the wilderness is even more authentic. Here, the Hiawatha National Forest covers the strip of land between Lake Michigan and Lake Superior with an endless canopy of green. For a short vacation in pristine nature, no better place could be found.

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