Money Matters: An IMF Exhibit -- The Importance of Global Cooperation

Reinventing the System (1972-1981)

Part 3 of 7


Conflict &
(1871 - 1944)

Destruction &
(1945 - 1958)
The System
in Crisis

(1959 - 1971)
the System
(1972 - 1981)
Debt &

(1981 - 1989)
Globalization and Integration
(1989 - 1999)

Petrodollar Problem

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While oil importers accumulated huge bills they could not pay, oil exporters accumulated large amounts of U.S. dollars - more than they knew how to use. These dollars were known as "petrodollars."


Man losing money



man shoveling money into a truck

Is there such a thing as TOO MUCH money?

Oil-exporting countries found themselves with so much money, they could not spend it fast enough. Some had small populations; many were still at early stages of industrialization. They could not import enough from the countries that bought their oil to keep from piling up enormous dollar surpluses.

The world economy would contract if all that money was taken out of circulation (i.e., not spent or loaned to someone else to spend). Oil exporters needed investment outlets for their petrodollars.


Would Floating Rates
Sink the System?
OPEC Takes Center Stage Petrodollar Problem
Recycling Petrodollars Stagflation Rush from the Dollar War on Inflation

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