Category Archives: Currencies

Ignacio Portes: Paul Singer v. Argentina – Where Did All That Debt Come From?

With Argentina’s payment to the holders of its restructured debt on June 30th in limbo at the Bank of New York Mellon, blocked by Federal Judge Thomas Griesa, and the 30 day grace period to official default ticking away, financial pundits have taken a keen interest in the biggest debt struggle in memory.

Some have been very critical of both the judge’s interpretation of the pari passu clause that created this mess and, more importantly, of his damaging precedent. But no one seems able to resist adding digs at Argentina, even when generally supporting its position in the litigation.

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France Has Hissy Fit Over BNP Paribas Fine and Dollar Dominance

France appears to have taken its public relations strategy for dealing with $8.9 billion fine against BNP Paribas from an old saying among lawyers: “If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you have the law on your side, pound the law. If you have neither on your side, pound the table.” Here’s the guts of the French compliant, which is that the US is abusing the power of dollar dominance:

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Why Europe Needs Two Euros, Not One

Yves here. We remarked recently how the readings we’ve been getting from people who have senior contacts in Europe are increasingly of the view that the economic crisis in Europe is morphing into a sufficiently severe political crisis that the unthinkable – a breakup of the eurozone – is looking like a serious possibility.

One indicator is the article featured below. VoxEU has policy reach in Europe, and this post represents an effort to come up with better economic arrangements within Europe while preserving at least some of the benefits of monetary union. And it is hardly the first to recognize that one of the big problems with the Eurozone is that it put together too many disparate economies without enough in the way of fiscal transfers to buffer the differences. If the Eurozone can’t move towards more economic integration, the next-best remedy might be a structure where more homogenous countries each had their own currency.

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Randy Wray: Modern Monetary Theory – The Basics

How economists that are otherwise sympathetic to modern monetary theory nevertheless misconstrue some of its fundamental observations. For instance, those like Paul Krugman who are generally of the Keynesian persuasion like MMT’s “deficit owl” approach. Krugman acts as if he would really like to stop worrying about the deficit so that he could advocate an “as much as it takes” approach to government spending. The problem is that he just cannot quite get a handle on the monetary operations that are required. Won’t government run out? What, is government going to create money “out of thin air”? Where will all the money come from?

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The Federal Reserve Versus Hyman Minsky (and Deflation)

How the Fed has gotten itself caught in its own underwear by ignoring Hyman Minsky and in persisting in the clearly failed strategy of super lax monetary policy rather than calling for more government spending.

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Is the Strong Dollar the Real Cause of the Collapse of US Manufacturing and Secular Stagnation?

Yves here. I managed to miss this VoxEU post from last month, and it is still timely. It argues that economists have generally been using the wrong measure of relative dollar strength to assess how the level of the currency played into the loss of manufacturing jobs and insufficient internal demand, now better known as “secular stagnation”.

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Whatever You Do, Don’t Pay Attention to the Rising Eurozone Stresses

One of the noteworthy elements of Davos, at least according to media accounts, was the cheery, self-congratulatory tone among the Davos Men, at least until the final day, when the emerging markets rout began. But one of the front they thought they’d gotten under control, Europe, may be about to enter a new phase of political stress.

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Philip Pilkington: Paul Krugman Pushes Factually Inaccurate Arguments About Argentina to Support Discredited Monetarist Ideas

Yves here. With Argentina one of the emerging markets economies whose currency has taken a huge tumble, its aggressive pro-labor, redistribution-oriented policies have come under attack (as an aside, one has to note that Turkey, which was touted as a model emerging economy a few years back, is also fighting a currency downspiral). And a predictable by-product is that some of Argentina’s policies have been misrepresented. For instance, it’s widely accused of “living beyond its means”. Yet as this post shows, the government ran surpluses in eight of the past ten years.

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