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What is an Amero?

By Brendan McGuigan
Updated May 17, 2024
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The Amero is a theoretical unit of currency that would be used throughout North America. The Amero is seen as a replacement for the three currencies of the three large countries in North America, the Canadian Dollar, the US Dollar, and the Mexican Peso. The Amero can be seen as a correlary to the European Union’s unit of the currency, the Euro, and its name is a play off of that name.

In South America, the Union of South American Nations, which includes every independent nation in South America, has been moving towards a more cooperative union as well, modeled after the European Union. One of the eventual goals of their union is a universal currency, as well, also modeled after the Euro.

None of the three governments which would be involved have moved forward at all with an Amero currency, but a number of theorists have pointed to it as a natural progression in the free market movement of North America. As the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) broke down many trade barriers between the three countries, and the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) linked the countries to some extent in terms of mutual aid, the Amero is seen as further uniting the countries’ interests.

The Amero was first proposed by a Canadian economist, Herb Grubel, in a book he wrote in 1999, entitled The Case for the Amero. A number of think tanks have since come out in favor of the Amero, arguing it would help strengthen all three countries by fostering a large-scale cooperation. A number of progressive groups in Canada have opposed the idea of the Amero, arguing that it would open up Canada even more to American corporations who wish to exploit Canada’s natural resources for their own gain.

The Amero mainly has benefits for Canada and Mexico, while the United States would see little gain from the adoption of a single shared currencies. Canadian theorists have argued it would save Canada billions of dollars a year in currency transactions, and that it would help bolster the nation’s GDP enormously. Some prominent Mexican theorists, including former president Vicente Fox, have supported the idea of an Amero as being very beneficial to Mexico’s currency in the long run.

To some extent, it can be argued that a shared currency already exists in the Americas, with the US Dollar acting as a de facto currency in many nations in Central and South America, including Peru, Panama, Honduras, Ecuador, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and much of the Caribbean. Many of these countries accept the US Dollar along with their own currencies, while some, like Ecuador, actually use the US Dollar as their primary unit of exchange.

There are a number of critiques of the idea of an Amero, the largest simply being that given the US Dollar’s unique role in the world, the adoption of an Amero currency could have unexpected repercussions. Unlike the European Union, where the economies of the largest countries are at least somewhat comparable in size, the US economy dwarfs those of the other two nations involved, which would give the country a large imbalance of power. At the same time, given the global economy’s de facto use of the US Dollar as a common currency, anything that might jeopardize that role is treated with some caution.

America Explained is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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