Must-read: David Glasner: “Competitive Devaluation Plus Monetary Expansion Does Create a Free Lunch”

Must-Read: The very sharp David Glasner says–correctly–that currency war is different from war-war. War war is a negative sum game. Currency war is a positive-sum game:

David Glasner: Competitive Devaluation Plus Monetary Expansion Does Create a Free Lunch: “Hawtrey explained why competitive devaluation in the 1930s was–and in my view still is–not a problem…

…Because the value of gold was not stable after Britain left the gold standard and depreciated its currency, the deflationary effect in other countries was mistakenly attributed to the British depreciation. But Hawtrey points out that this reasoning was backwards. The fall in prices in the rest of the world was caused by deflationary measures that were increasing the demand for gold and causing prices in terms of gold to continue to fall, as they had been since 1929. It was the fall in prices in terms of gold that was causing the pound to depreciate, not the other way around….

Depreciating your currency cushions the fall in nominal income and aggregate demand. If aggregate demand is kept stable, then the increased output, income, and employment associated with a falling exchange rate will spill over into a demand for the exports of other countries and an increase in the home demand for exportable home products. So it’s a win-win situation.

However, the Fed has permitted passive monetary tightening over the last eighteen months, and in December 2015 embarked on active monetary tightening…. Passive tightening has reduced US demand for imports and for US exportable products, so passive tightening has negative indirect effects on aggregate demand in the rest of the world…


Brad DeLong


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