It is not hard to imagine that if Italy's new government proceeds with its ambitious fiscal plans, instituting both a flat tax and a universal basic income, it could blow up the budget deficit. In that case, Italy could quickly find itself out of the eurozone and ring-fenced by capital controls, whether the government intended this or not.
Economic commentators are better at rationalizing past exchange-rate movements than at forecasting future trends. So, when it comes to explanations for the dollar’s decline over the past year, we are confronted by an embarrassment of riches.
While many people believe that technological progress and job destruction are accelerating dramatically, there is no evidence of either trend. In reality, total factor productivity, the best summary measure of the pace of technical change, has been stagnating since 2005 in the US and across the advanced-country world.
Today, central banks are under attack for missing their inflation targets, failing to maintain financial stability or restore it in transparent ways, and ignoring the global repercussions of their policies. But compromising central bank independence in order to enhance political accountability would be to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Pundits have been saying last rites for the dollar’s global dominance since the 1960s – that is, for more than half a century now. But the pundits may finally be right, because the greenback's dominance has been sustained by geopolitical alliances that are now fraying badly.
Just prior to the Brexit referendum, then-UK justice secretary Michael Gove dismissed dire warnings of an economic meltdown following a "Leave" vote by stating, "The people of this country have had enough of experts." And, indeed, the experts seemed to have been proved wrong – until now.
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the Asian financial crisis. While such milestones are not exactly cause for celebration, they at least afford an opportunity to look back and examine what has changed – and, no less important, what hasn’t.
This is a good time to remember that the US is a federal system, not a unitary state with an all-powerful central government. So, can Americans who oppose the contraction of social programs and revocation of progressive federal legislation use US states’ authority to counter these trends?
Donald Trump thinks Germany's massive current-account surplus reflects currency manipulation and import restrictions. But, while the German external balance is indeed a problem, the best way to address it has nothing to do with the exchange rate or trade policy.
Donald Trump’s comments about China during the US presidential campaign didn’t exactly bolster high hopes for Sino-American relations once he was elected. But the two leaders' summit at Mar-a-Lago showed that even a president as reckless as Trump knows that the US cannot afford to antagonize the Chinese.