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Kazakh president proposes global currency

I had always put Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in the megamaniacal but ultimately pragmatic class of dictators rather than the batshit crazy naming-months-after-himself kind. That was before I heard his idea for solving the global financial crisis: “In our view, we must create a single world currency under the aegis of the United Nations,” Nazarbayev ...

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TOKYO - JUNE 19: Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev arrives at the Imperial Palace on June 19, 2008 in Tokyo, Japan. Nazarbayev is on a 5-day state visit to Japan. (Photo by Junko Kimura/Getty Images)

I had always put Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in the megamaniacal but ultimately pragmatic class of dictators rather than the batshit crazy naming-months-after-himself kind. That was before I heard his idea for solving the global financial crisis:

“In our view, we must create a single world currency under the aegis of the United Nations,” Nazarbayev said on Tuesday, a day before a major economic conference opens in his Central Asian country.

“We must make a transition to an absolutely new global currency system based on legitimacy and, in view of all countries, one single monetary system,” he told a meeting of the Eurasian Association of Universities.

This is the first time Nazarbayev has spoken publicly about the need for a single world currency although he has previously written about it.

He first called for the creation of a worldwide currency, to be called “acmetal” – a combination of “acme,” a Greek word meaning the peak or the best, and “capital” – in an article published last month.

In the article in Russia’s Rossiskaya Gazeta, Nazarbayev suggested that once a single currency system was in place, the world might consider changing the term used to describe global finance from “capitalism” to “acmetalism.”

This comes from Luke Allnutt RFE/RL’s excellent TransMission blog, who notes that Genghis Khan had a similar idea.

Nazarbayev’s book “The Kazakhstan Way,” (featuring an intro by Margaret Thatcher!) has been sitting unread on my bookshelf since I snagged it off the FP review pile last year. If it’s full of ideas this good I may have to move it up on my list. 

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating