BEIJING (Reuters) - A disaster worse than the financial crisis will engulf the world, predicts China's latest financial bestseller, and its author is preparing to profit from the turmoil. But that profit will not be in U.S. dollars.
In "Currency Wars 2", Song Hongbing claims a shadowy global elite will introduce a single world currency around 2024, tossing the dollar into the dustbin, condemned by loose-spending Washington policies and the waning dominance of the West.
Song's book, a sequel to his 2007 bestseller, claims this murky establishment of bankers and politicians stood by as markets crashed last year, hoping the trauma would hasten the world's acceptance of a single currency and world government.
"This crisis was bound to occur, but there were people who understood that beforehand and set in place the arrangements," Song told Reuters in an interview in his office, lined with books on finance, Chinese history and biographies of tycoons.
"This crisis was just warming up public opinion for a single global currency ... Another, even bigger crisis will be needed to launch the world currency into reality."
"Currency Wars 2" will not convince many economists. But its popularity is a telling sign of China's contradictory times.
It echoes the mix of disdain, suspicion and awe of the United States that is reflected in Chinese media and official comment.
Song's intricate diagrams and claims of generations of purported conspirators guiding the world's course read like the plot of a thriller novel, and footnotes in his book suggest familiarity with far-right U.S. conspiracy theories.
When Chinese President Hu Jintao speaks at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh this week, he is sure to deliver a sober mix of proposals and admonitions that avoids such heady claims.
Yet China often says the United States has long backed plots seeking to subjugate it, even while Beijing is the world's biggest holder of U.S. treasury debt, which makes up a big chunk of its foreign exchange holdings.
"The popularity of Currency Wars reflects a widespread feeling that China's power isn't properly reflected in the way the global financial system works," said Wang Yong, a professor of international political economy at Peking University.
"A conspiracy theory is always an easy way to explain that imbalance ... It helps make sense of complicated issues."
A U.S. decision to put high duties on Chinese-made tires could stoke the Chinese public anger with Washington that helped make Song's two books bestsellers, he said.
Yet in the looming turmoil, China should be pragmatic and focus on seizing economic opportunities. "There are always opportunities to make money, even during a crisis or depression."
Song is no stranger to the United States. Now 41, he studied education at American University in Washington, D.C., before a business career and work as a financial pundit, he said.
He likened the financial crisis to Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, which he claimed President Roosevelt was warned about but chose not to stop.
Likewise, Song argued, the world's central bankers stood by despite mounting signs of a looming financial crash.
"It was a crisis they perhaps awaited, with the goal of establishing consensus for a unified global currency."
Seeing that the U.S. dollar is doomed, Federal Reserve bankers are backing plan for a currency based on gold reserves and greenhouse gas emissions credits, which may eventually leave China holding mountains of worthless dollars, said Song.
The role of Jewish financiers from the Rothschilds onwards is a thread throughout his two books. He said he was not hostile to Jews. "They aren't singled out. They are one group competing along with Protestant and Catholic financiers."
Before the currency and a world government to control it can be born, the United States will suffer a decline echoing the hyperinflation and chaos that Germany endured before the emergence of Nazism.
He said smart investors could profit from the crisis by buying gold and platinum. Beijing should resist backing the plans until it has grown strong enough to match the West and win a big say in the new order.
"This will be a massive reshuffling of global wealth," he said. "If that's the way things are headed and you can't stop it, then why not try to get rich from it?" (Editing by Ken Wills & Jan Dahinten)