Sunday, December 06, 2015

Why Debts and Deficits DO Matter

1 comment:

scrivener3 said...

Pretty great. You should have a TV program to educate more people. However, while I agree about the problems with debt, I disagree with some of your comments about USD reserve currency status.

There is a good part to having world reserve currency status, namely the world needs your currency to transact and store value so you get to export printed paper and import real goods and services, There is also a downside, namely our export industries get creamed. We have to import the value of goods and services in excess to the value of our exports equal to the world demand for dollars.

Now naturally when a huge swath of the third world, like China, Vietnam, Russia, Chile, etc withdrew from Communism (where no hard (US) currency trade occurred for them) and entered modern semi-capitalistic global trade, the demand for dollars skyrocketed. How many dollars did the People's republic hold in 1969? How many today? Multiply bu many formerly third world countries.

What happened in the US? Lots of consumption without production as we supplied the needed dollars. But that means US industries closed or left. Apple could produce in the US and pay production workers in dollars but gosh dollars are in demand and expensive. Or Apple could produce in China and pay workers (effectively) in Yuan and only take a royality in dollars for value added design. The Swiss had the same problem because people wanted to hold their currency (although not the reserve currency). It was so strong they could not sell any products to the outside world.

Now I don't want to favor export industries over consumers in the US but the distortions caused by that world demand for USD is not solely a good thing for US commerce. Germany can export with high costs because they produce a good product, but the US by definition has to export much less than it imports in order to supply the world demand for dollars, no matter how high quality the product..