Goldfinger, the 1964 Bond film, is based on a premise that is incredibly foreign to today’s audiences: moving gold between countries was illegal. Oliver Bullough in The Guardian asks us all to think about that a bit more:
The US government tried to defend the dollar/gold price, but every restriction it put on dollar movements just made it more profitable to keep your dollars in London, leading more money to leak offshore, and thus more pressure to build on the dollar/gold price. And where the dollars went, the bankers followed. The City had looser regulations and more accommodating politicians than Wall Street, and the banks loved it. In 1964, 11 US banks had branches in the City of London. In 1975, 58 did.
If regulations stop at a country’s borders, but the money can flow wherever it wishes, its owners can outwit any regulators they choose.