I magine that your favorite recreational activity is playing golf. You play 36 holes every weekend, so you're pretty darn good. You consistently beat everyone you know, and people often tell you that you should consider playing professionally.
One sunny Saturday afternoon, you're at your favorite course with a buddy. You're feeling confident because you know this course like the back of your hand. In fact, you have a number of birdies and even a couple of holes in one to your credit. Just as you're stepping up to the first tee, your friend says, "How about if we change it up a little?" He reaches into his back pocket, pulls out a blindfold, places it over your eyes, and ties it behind your head. "Okay, tee off whenever you're ready," he says.
It's a totally different game now, isn't it? You'll be lucky to keep the ball on the fairway, much less get it onto the green.
In the world of money and wealth, the economy is like that fairway. It's the big picture. If you can see it spread out in front of you and you know where the sand traps and water hazards are, you've got a much better chance of getting on the green than if you're swinging away in the dark.
Let's pause for a short history lesson. Back in 1944, while World War II was still raging, delegates from all of the Allied nations met in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, to establish a set of institutions and rules to regulate the international monetary system. Among other things, the resulting Bretton Woods Agreements ...