Whither the Dollar: Exorbitant Privilege No More?


Professor Barry Eichengreen

University of California, Berkeley

Cosponsored with the Cal Alumni Association


For a very long time, the US. dollar has been the world’s primary reserve currency, providing an almost endless windfall of riches to the United States. Our good fortune hasn’t gone unnoticed. Early on and perhaps most famously, Valery Giscard d’Estaing, former President of France, referred to the dollar’s reserve currency role as the “Exorbitant Privilege.”

To appreciate why, consider: if a country wants dollars (as so many do), it sells us something to get them. For example, if Germany wants $100,000 from us to add to their reserves, what might they sell us? Let’s say it’s a Mercedes Benz. So, we get a brand-new, expensive car in return for dollars; i.e., pieces of paper that cost us almost nothing to print. That is quite a deal!

Professor Eichengreen explores whether times could be changing and whether our privilege is at risk. What would be the consequences if we were to lose this privilege?

Barry Eichengreen has done research and published widely on the history and current operation of the international monetary and financial system. He is the George C. Pardee and Helen N. Pardee Professor of Economics and Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley where he has taught since 1987. Professor Eichengreen earned his Ph.D. in economics from Yale University.

Date and Times

  • Monday, November 20, 2023
  • 11:15 AM Registration
  • 11:45 AM Lunch
  • 12:30 PM Speaker Presentation


  • Salad: Spinach Salad with Peas, Radishes, Chickpeas & Crumbled Feta with a Champagne Vinaigrette
  • Bread and butter
  • Entree: Grilled Lemon, Garlic & Rosemary Salmon with a Tomato Basil Bruschetta Salsa over Orzo Pilaf with Basil & Pine Nuts served with Blistered Green Beans
  • Vegetarian Alternative: Salinas Valley Pasta Primavera: Penne Pasta with Olive Oil, Pine Nuts, Basil, Grilled Zucchini & Roasted Tomatoes
  • Dessert: Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


  • $36 for World Affairs Council & Cal Alumni Association members
  • $41 for guests

Vaccination Requirements

Until further notice, documentation of COVID vaccination will not be required to attend in-person events.


Please Note: Our registration desk and name tag pick up has moved inside the Big Sur Room.

WACMB will accept auditors to this event, requiring notification to the WACMB office no later than Friday, November 17th to www.wacmb.org / tel 831-643-1855.  Auditors will be allowed entry at 12:20 pm.

Registrations are due by Tuesday, November 14, 2023.
Refunds are not available after the due date listed above.


Big Sur Room

Hilton Garden Inn, Monterey
1000 Aguajito Road
Monterey, CA 93923

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