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Led by the Federal Reserve, the world's central banks have spent five years pursuing some of the most reckless monetary policies ever seen in the developed world. Next year, though, their barmy bets will finally start to come undone.
The crackup won't start happening until the end of 2004 -- after George Bush, the market's favorite for president, has been safely re-elected -- but the coming deluge will usher in a period of global economic malaise and dire losses in financial markets.
The fast-declining dollar we see today is an early indicator of the reckoning that Fed Chairman Greenspan has long tried to forestall, using unsustainable measures. America will be the epicenter of the bust, because it is here that debt totals, as well as trade and fiscal deficits, have risen to historically delinquent levels.Granted, it almost always pays to ignore most apocalyptic-sounding warnings -- and much money has been made over the years betting against the end of the world. Moreover, shrugging off such a dark-sounding forecast would seem to make a lot of sense after most of