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Nazarbaev Circulates His Currency Vision

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has been stumping hard for the "akmetal."
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev appears keen to introduce a common global currency. One way or another.

"I continue to insist that the new global economy requires a new global currency," Nararbaev said during a recent economic forum in the Kazakh capital, Astana. He also "continued to insist" on the topic during an informal meeting of the OSCE Foreign Ministers in Almaty earlier this month.

In his article, "Keys To The Crisis," published in the Russian newspaper "Rossiiskaya gazeta" in February 2009, Nazarbaev suggested that a common currency could help lead the world out of financial turmoil.

Nazarbaev has suggested calling it the "akmetal," a word coined from the Greek "acme" -- meaning "supreme" or "best" -- and "capital."

The Kazakh president says that with the akmetal firmly in place, the term "akmetalism" could eventually replace "capitalism" to describe the world's dominant economic system.

In the past, he has suggested the creation of a common currency for the Eurasian Economic Community, a regional treaty comprising six former Soviet countries -- Russia, Belarus, and the Central Asian republics sans Turkmenistan.

Nazarbaev is by no means the first advocate of such a scheme. In the 1940s, leading British economist John Maynard Keynes suggested the creation of a common currency along with a world central bank and an international clearing union to manage it. He wanted to call the common currency the "bancor."

Keynes' bancor never materialized, but his idea for world financial institutions eventually led to the creation of the so-called Bretton Woods institutions: the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

So, despite an apparent lack of supporters for the akmetal, don't kill Nazarbaev's idea just yet. Leave it to future economists and akmetalists to decide.

-- Farangis Najibullah