Jialai She

Rise of the US Dollar: Where the Greenback Meets the Black Gold
US History
Volume 8 | Issue I | March 2024
Phillips Academy Andover ’27
Massachusetts, USA
My interest in the US dollar’s dominance in the global financial system was sparked by the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing program during the pandemic. Historical accounts trace the dollar’s supremacy to the Bretton Woods gold standard and its evolution into the petrodollar system. However, the details surrounding Saudi Arabia’s crucial decision in the early 1970s to price oil exclusively in dollars remain elusive. The specifics of the petrodollar agreements, unlike those of many significant treaties, are not publicly accessible. Researching this intricate history felt like solving a detective mystery, piecing together clues from diverse sources including news articles, academic journals, Congressional hearings, and organization reports. The investigation was captivating. It spanned across history, economics, and political science, and deepened my understanding of Triffin’s dilemma, the Nixon shock, petrodollar recycling, and the concept of dollar hegemony, as well as the roles of key figures such as Henry Kissinger and William Simon. The research paper is the result of two years of dedicated effort. It could not have been achieved without the encouragement of Mr. Hawkins and Dr. Fitzpatrick. I am grateful to The Schola for providing high school students with a platform to publish their research and for the invaluable feedback from its editors. I am confident that the journal will continue to inspire students to engage in creative research and foster deep thinking throughout the process.
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