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. (foreignpolicy, 3.10.2009) http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/03/10/kazakh_president_proposes_global_currency