September 28, 2011
Last week, I referred you to an incoherent attack on American monetary policy by Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff. She argued that “economies that issue reserve currencies,” i.e., the United States, “are resorting to undervalued exchange rates to ensure their share of global markets.”
There are two basic errors with this claim. First, the only reason the dollar is the world’s reserve currency is because other governments—including Brazil’s—want it to be. No one forced the Brazilians to buy $200 billion of U.S. assets over the past five years. Second, the U.S. dollar is not undervalued. If it were, we would be earning large current account and trade surpluses. Instead, we run deficits.
Dilma had it backwards. The United States has not been taking advantage of the rest of the world—it is the rest of the world that has been taking advantage of us. The only way to peaceably resolve the imbalances that have resulted from decades of protectionism by the surplus countries of the world is through a large depreciation of the U.S. dollar. Read more of this post