The Dollar Crisis

Will the US dollar plummet in value with respect to other currencies, and if so, when? This question has been on my mind for about a year and a half. I was pleased to discover this book, which provides a comprehensive survey of the economic factors behind this eventuality.

Duncan’s central thesis is as follows: Easy availability of credit (low interest rates) have precipitated recessions around the world and even the Great Depression in the US. The US trade deficit along with China’s currency policy have kept interest rates low recently and Duncan predicts a global recession that will make the dot-com bust look microscopic. Of course the size, start time, and duration of the recession are difficult to predict, and Duncan doesn’t try. His solutions involve cooperative global economic policy changes that face insurmountable political and social obstacles (e.g. a global minimum wage).

The book is a couple of years old and recent news suggests one of his predictions may turn out wrong. Duncan says that Japan’s zero-interest-rate monetary policy hasn’t helped the country, but the Bank of Japan recently raised (imposed!) interest rates, seeing recovery in the Japanese economy.

The writing and organization leave something to be desired. There is unnecessary repetition. Duncan explains some elementary concepts well, but neglects to explain other things that are more difficult to understand.

Tags: Economics, Politics, Reading

Updated at: 11 March 2006 12:03 AM

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