"The latest fiat system kicked off in earnest in 1944 when Uncle Scam, in Bretton Woods, NH, got the leaders of the world’s war-weary countries to agree to accept the U.S. dollar as their reserve currency. In return, the U.S. agreed that the currency notes it would subsequently issue would be convertible into a corresponding amount of gold. Then Tricky Nixon came along in 1971 and canceled the right of the bearer to swap the notes for gold. Overnight, the link between the currency and anything tangible was lost. That, of course, opened the door to all subsequent politicians to engage in the whole print, print, print thing. The keystone asset of the former system – gold – soon became a distant memory for the new crop of central bankers and, remarkably, to the bearers of the notes. For any number of reasons, most of which related to the illusion of increasing prosperity, people simply stopped paying attention to what Uncle Scam was up to. Of course, that illusion was largely based on the increase in nominal wealth: if one year you’re worth $100,000 and three years later you are worth $150,000, the tendency is to feel richer even if your actual purchasing power has gone up by far less or even has declined due to a debasement of the currency. Today’s dollar is worth just 18 cents in 1971 terms."