The Dollar Trap: How the U.S. Dollar Tightened Its Grip on Global Finance

Princeton University Press

The U.S. dollar’s dominance seems under threat. The near collapse of the U.S. financial system in 2008–2009, political paralysis that has blocked effective policymaking, and emerging competitors such as the Chinese renminbi have heightened speculation about the dollar’s looming displacement as the main reserve currency. Yet, as The Dollar Trap powerfully argues, the financial crisis, a dysfunctional international monetary system, and U.S. policies have paradoxically strengthened the dollar’s importance.

Eswar Prasad examines how the dollar came to have a central role in the world economy and demonstrates that it will remain the cornerstone of global finance for the foreseeable future. Marshaling a range of arguments and data, and drawing on the latest research, Prasad shows why it will be difficult to dislodge the dollar-centric system. With vast amounts of foreign financial capital locked up in dollar assets, including U.S. government securities, other countries now have a strong incentive to prevent a dollar crash.

Prasad takes the reader through key contemporary issues in international finance—including the growing economic influence of emerging markets, the currency wars, the complexities of the China-U.S. relationship, and the role of institutions like the International Monetary Fund—and offers new ideas for fixing the flawed monetary system. Readers are also given a rare look into some of the intrigue and backdoor scheming in the corridors of international finance.

The Dollar Trap offers a panoramic analysis of the fragile state of global finance and makes a compelling case that, despite all its flaws, the dollar will remain the ultimate safe-haven currency.

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About the author

Eswar S. Prasad is a professor in the Dyson School at Cornell University and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jan 26, 2014
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Pages
432
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ISBN
9781400849963
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Economic Conditions
Business & Economics / Economic History
Business & Economics / Economics / Macroeconomics
Business & Economics / Foreign Exchange
Business & Economics / International / Economics
Business & Economics / International / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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In Gaining Currency, leading China scholar Eswar S. Prasad describes how the renminbi (RMB) is taking the world by storm and explains its role in reshaping global finance. This book sets the recent rise of the RMB, China's currency since 1949, against a sweeping historical backdrop. China issued the world's first paper currency in the 7th century. In the 13th century, Kublai Khan issued the first-ever currency to circulate widely despite not being backed by commodities or precious metals. China also experienced some of the earliest episodes of hyperinflation currency wars. Gaining Currency reveals the interconnections linking China's growing economic might, its expanding international influence, and the rise of its currency. If China plays its cards right by adopting reforms that put its economy and financial markets on the right track, the RMB could rival even the euro and the Japanese yen. Prasad shows, however, that while China has successfully adopted a unique playbook for promoting the RMB, many pitfalls lie ahead for its economy and currency that could limit the RMB's ascendance. The Chinese leadership is pursuing financial liberalization and limited market-oriented reforms, but it has unequivocally repudiated political, legal, and institutional reforms. Therefore, Prasad argues, while the RMB is likely to become a significant reserve currency, it will not attain "safe haven" status as a currency to which investors turn during crises. In short, the hype predicting the RMB's inevitable rise to global dominance is overblown. Gaining Currency makes a compelling case that, for all its promise, the RMB does not pose a serious challenge to the U.S. dollar's dominance in international finance.
The U.S. dollar's dominance seems under threat. The near collapse of the U.S. financial system in 2008–2009, political paralysis that has blocked effective policymaking, and emerging competitors such as the Chinese renminbi have heightened speculation about the dollar’s looming displacement as the main reserve currency. Yet, as The Dollar Trap powerfully argues, the financial crisis, a dysfunctional international monetary system, and U.S. policies have paradoxically strengthened the dollar’s importance.

Eswar Prasad examines how the dollar came to have a central role in the world economy and demonstrates that it will remain the cornerstone of global finance for the foreseeable future. Marshaling a range of arguments and data, and drawing on the latest research, Prasad shows why it will be difficult to dislodge the dollar-centric system. With vast amounts of foreign financial capital locked up in dollar assets, including U.S. government securities, other countries now have a strong incentive to prevent a dollar crash.

Prasad takes the reader through key contemporary issues in international finance—including the growing economic influence of emerging markets, the currency wars, the complexities of the China-U.S. relationship, and the role of institutions like the International Monetary Fund—and offers new ideas for fixing the flawed monetary system. Readers are also given a rare look into some of the intrigue and backdoor scheming in the corridors of international finance.

The Dollar Trap offers a panoramic analysis of the fragile state of global finance and makes a compelling case that, despite all its flaws, the dollar will remain the ultimate safe-haven currency.

In Gaining Currency, leading China scholar Eswar S. Prasad describes how the renminbi (RMB) is taking the world by storm and explains its role in reshaping global finance. This book sets the recent rise of the RMB, China's currency since 1949, against a sweeping historical backdrop. China issued the world's first paper currency in the 7th century. In the 13th century, Kublai Khan issued the first-ever currency to circulate widely despite not being backed by commodities or precious metals. China also experienced some of the earliest episodes of hyperinflation currency wars. Gaining Currency reveals the interconnections linking China's growing economic might, its expanding international influence, and the rise of its currency. If China plays its cards right by adopting reforms that put its economy and financial markets on the right track, the RMB could rival even the euro and the Japanese yen. Prasad shows, however, that while China has successfully adopted a unique playbook for promoting the RMB, many pitfalls lie ahead for its economy and currency that could limit the RMB's ascendance. The Chinese leadership is pursuing financial liberalization and limited market-oriented reforms, but it has unequivocally repudiated political, legal, and institutional reforms. Therefore, Prasad argues, while the RMB is likely to become a significant reserve currency, it will not attain "safe haven" status as a currency to which investors turn during crises. In short, the hype predicting the RMB's inevitable rise to global dominance is overblown. Gaining Currency makes a compelling case that, for all its promise, the RMB does not pose a serious challenge to the U.S. dollar's dominance in international finance.
Emerging market economies (EMEs) have become the darlings of international investors and the focus of enormous attention in academic, media, and policy circles. M. Ayhan Kose and Eswar Prasad present the definitive account of the evolution of EMEs and use the lens of the global financial crisis to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.

Led by a set of large and dynamic countries—including Brazil, China, India, and Russia—EMEs have become a dominant presence in the world economy. They now account for a substantial share of world output and have been a major driver of global growth during the past decade. They are significant players in international trade and financial flows and are beginning to exert rising clout in global policy debates. However, the financial crisis of 2007–09 and the worldwide recession that followed cast a pall over the notion that EMEs had become self-reliant and "decoupled" from demand conditions in and financial flows from advanced countries.

Kose and Prasad, prominent experts on emerging market economies and globalization, draw on their extensive research to assess the resilience of EMEs in the face of the global financial crisis. Their analysis shows that EMEs, as a group, weathered the crisis much better than the advanced countries, and most of these economies have bounced back rapidly from the global recession. The authors track down the reasons for this resilience and explain why some countries in this group have done better than others. Based on this analysis, they draw lessons for the durability and sustainability of these economies' long-term growth. This book is important reading for anyone trying to anticipate the future growth of emerging markets or contemplating business opportunities in these economies.

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