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Exorbitant Privilege: The Rise and Fall of the Dollar [Anglais] [Broché]

Barry Eichengreen
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Exorbitant Privilege: The Rise and Fall of the Dollar + Globalizing Capital -  A History of the International Monetary System - Second Edition + Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance
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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

A brisk and invigorating account of a century of international monetary developments ... extremely well informed, cogently argued...erudite and readable. (Andrea Boltho, New Left Review)

incredibly relevant work (Business Destinations)

Short and eminently readable...In just 177 pages of text, [Eichengreen] provides a wealth of material for both the lay reader and the scholar...You can't do better than Eichengreen for a solid read on the dollar's wild ride. (American Prospect)

A truly superb book on the role and global standing of the dollar--past, present and future. Those exposed to the evolution of the global economy, and that's virtually all of us, will find his book extremely thoughtful and a great read.' (Mohamed El-Erian, CEO and co-CIO of PIMCO)

A fascinating and readable account of the dollar's rise and potential fall, (The Economist)

A rare combination of macroeconomic mastery, historical erudition, good political instincts and the sort of stubborn common sense that is constantly placing familiar problems in a new light. (Christopher Caldwell, Financial Times)

Timely.. elegant and pithy. (Harold James, Finance and Development,) --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Relié .

Présentation de l'éditeur

For more than half a century, the dollar has been not just America's currency but the world's. It is used globally by importers, exporters, investors, governments and central banks alike. This singular role of the dollar is a source of strength for the United States. It is, as a critic of U.S. policies once put it, America's "exorbitant privilege." But now, with U.S. budget deficits extending as far as the eye can see, holding dollars is viewed as a losing proposition. Some say that the dollar may soon cease to be the world's standard currency, which would depress U.S. living standards and weaken the country's international influence. In Exorbitant Privilege, one of our foremost economists, Barry Eichengreen, traces the rise of the dollar to international prominence. He shows how the greenback dominated internationally in the second half of the 20th century for the same reasons that the United States dominated the global economy. But now, with the rise of China, India, Brazil and other emerging economies, America no longer towers over the global economy. It follows, Eichengreen argues, that the dollar will not be as dominant. But this does not mean that coming changes need be sudden and dire DL or that the dollar is doomed to lose its international status. Challenging the presumption that there is room for only one true global currency, Eichengreen shows that several currencies have regularly shared this role. What was true in the distant past will be true, once again, in the not-too-distant future. The dollar will lose its international currency status, Eichengreen warns, only if the United States repeats the mistakes that led to the financial crisis and only if it fails to put its fiscal and financial house in order. Incisive, challenging and iconoclastic, Exorbitant Privilege, is a fascinating analysis of the changes that lie ahead. It is a challenge, equally, to those who warn that the dollar is doomed and to those who regard its continuing dominance as inevitable.

Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 224 pages
  • Editeur : OUP Oxford (27 septembre 2012)
  • Langue : Inconnu
  • ISBN-10: 0199642478
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199642472
  • Dimensions du produit: 0,1 x 18,6 x 24,2 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 68.974 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Brilliant 29 mars 2013
Format:Format Kindle
Professor Laurent Estachy of Euromed Kedge Business School, France recommended this book as reference during his course on Multinational Finance in the winter of 2012. The book is a concise history of the dollar's rise to its current status as the dominant currency in international trade. Carefully read, this work helps one understand challenges faced by world's mature and upcoming economies in their quest for growth, employment, and laying the foundations of sustainable economic progress.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 étoiles sur 5  49 commentaires
99 internautes sur 101 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent history, weaker on prediction 30 novembre 2010
Par Aaron C. Brown - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
As other reviewers have noted, the first half of this book is a history of US currency in international transactions. While important, this material is necessarily dull. The author does an excellent job of making it no duller than it has to be. He does not leave out the important minutiae of trade acceptances and special drawing rights, but he explains them clearly and without jargon; without droning on beyond the needs of the history. The author has an extremely dry sense of humor, easy to miss but worth catching, and works in enough amusing detail to keep you awake.

Compared to the conventional story, this book presents a generally negative picture of currency management, especially in Europe and doubly especially in the UK. The US makes its share of mistakes in the book, but fewer than other countries. That plus two world wars propelled the dollar to international prominence. The careful parsing of history also reveals that currency hegemony is more fragile than commonly thought, it is largely coincidence that we have had only two dominant world currencies, sterling and dollar, over nearly 200 years.

Over the last 20 years fiscal mismanagement and financial crisis threaten the dollar's global role, and other countries have made successful innovations. But the dollar's relative advantages remain strong, which should at least make one of the major international currency if we don't screw things up too much. However no currency is likely to dominate the way the pound did in the 19th century or the dollar did in the 20th.

On the downside, the book has a narrow focus. Financial markets are absent from the story, except when they are causing trouble. The author's analysis of those troubles seems pulled from a few fulminating editorials, in contrast to the careful research on monetary topics (supported by excellent notes and references). Trade flows and import/export considerations are emphasized while the much larger financial flows get scant treatment (and, again, only when the cause trouble). There is no deep treatment of banks, we see them only as lobbyists for monetary affairs. It's hard to believe you can describe money without some discussion of banks and finance.

My other criticism is I found the predictions based to be based entirely on history. While history can teach us a lot, the world has also changed in important respects. Can we really turn back the clock in a global financial system with an Internet? Maybe the answer is "yes," but you won't find convincing arguments in this book.

Overall, I recommend this book highly for people who are already knowledgeable about finance and financial history. You will learn a lot. I have only a qualified recommendation for others. You will also learn a lot, but I think the knowledge will be unbalanced, and the conclusions possibly misleading.
78 internautes sur 85 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 De Gaulle Did not Use the Expression "Exorbitant Privilege" 11 février 2011
Par Etienne ROLLAND-PIEGUE - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Most French people attribute the expression "America's exorbitant privilege" to de Gaulle. Those familiar with postwar economic history may associate it with the name of Jacques Rueff, the independent economist who advised de Gaulle on monetary matters. The "exorbitant privilege" of the dollar has been associated with America's ability to record a "deficit without tears" that gives people the impression "that they can give without taking, lend without borrowing, and purchase without paying", to borrow a quotation from Jacques Rueff. Or, as a Treasury Secretary once famously replied to Europeans worried by exchange rate fluctuations, the dollar "is our currency, but your problem."

But in fact it was not de Gaulle nor Jacques Rueff who used this expression first, and the "exorbitant privilege" is nowhere to be found in their speeches or writings. It was Raymond Aron, the public intellectual otherwise sympathetic to American power, who wrote it for the first time in his column published by Le Figaro in February 1965. The line was a quote from a declaration by Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, finance minister to de Gaulle, and also much less inclined to denounce American hegemony.

Barry Eichengreen, who rightly attributes the quote to whom it is due, is the don of international monetary history. He has published scores of books and papers on the international monetary system, from the gold standard to Bretton Woods and beyond. No one is therefore more qualified to write an essay about the challenges facing the dollar as an international currency. His book covers a lot of material presented in a concise and non-academic way. Readers who need a one-stop shop for the history of international currencies should look no further.

The story starts with the clam shells, furs and tobacco leaf bundles used by the Pilgrim Fathers in their trade with Native Americans and between themselves (need a wampum, anyone?). The book then covers the successive attempts to create a central bank in the US. The third trial was the right one: the Fed was born as the creature from Jekyll Island, the remote resort off the Georgia coast where six influential financiers retreated in 1910 to discuss their plot while avoiding publicity. The First World War transformed the US from debtor to creditor nation, and gave a fatal blow to Britain's power. For Eichengreen, from as early as 1914, and even more so in the interwar period, the fat lady had sung its song, and the dollar had dethroned the sterling as the premier international currency. The sterling was however able to cling as an important reserve currency until the Suez Crisis in 1956, when US opposition to UK imperialist policy brought the sterling crashing down (the expression "gnomes from Zürich" used to disparage currency speculators dates from then, and was coined by a British politician, not by the French or de Gaulle, to which it is sometimes attributed. The reasons so many quotes are wrongly attributed to de Gaulle is because he was a master of words, using such rare expressions as "volapük" "tracassin", "cabri" or "tous azimuts" that are a strain to students of French as a foreign language.)

The book also provides a well-rounded chapter on monetary integration in Europe. Eichengreen argues that the eurozone was built with initial flaws that later came to haunt it in the aftermath of the late-2000 Great Recession. To summarize, it all happened because of Luxemburg. This tiny country with impeccable European credentials could only be admitted in the eurozone's inner circle when the European monetary union was created in 1999. But it was already in a monetary union with Belgium, which had a large public debt and more fragile economic governance. Admitting Belgium in turn meant that it would be impossible to invoke the Maastricht Treaty's public debt ceiling to keep other countries from joining in. Hence entered Italy, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, and even Greece, although the admission of the later came back with a vengeance in 2010. Nonetheless, the author is moderately optimistic about the prospects for the euro. Although it was created before all the economic prerequisites were in place, the member states now feel compelled to complete them, and this is why "the euro will likely emerge from its crisis stronger than it was before", Eichengreen writes.

The subprime crisis and the 2008-2009 financial meltdown are covered in some detail, with the author still brimming with anger at the follies of financiers stretching for yield and the sloth of regulators asleep at the switch. In the last chapter ("Dollar Crush"), Eichengreen gives us a glimpse of what the world would look like after the dollar comes tumbling down and loses its international status. It is not a comforting sight. The United States are downgraded to emerging economy status, and have to rely on the generosity of others in the event of a crisis. Losing their exorbitant privilege means Americans will have to consume less, export more, and pay higher interest rates on a debt that will be partly denominated in foreign currencies. The Fed will no longer be able to cut interest rates in recessions without paying due consideration for the external value of the dollar, and it will have to raise rates in case of dollar depreciation. The author deems this scenario moderately plausible. As he notes, "people have been wrong before when betting against the U.S. economy. They have been wrong before when betting against the dollar. They could be wrong again. Or they could be right, in which case the dollar's exorbitant privilege will be no more."

As Eichengreen states in the introduction, much of what passes as conventional wisdom on international currency is wrong. It is thought that widespread international rule of a currency confers on its issuer geopolitical and strategic leverage. In fact, it is the other way around: people choose the dollar because the U.S. remains the largest economy in the world, able to back its stakes with military power and geopolitical influence. Likewise, it is wrongly assumed that there is place for only one international currency on the roost bar, whereas experience suggests several internatuional currencies may coexist, as was the case in the interwar period and indeed in much of history apart from the second half of the twentieth century, when American power was undisputed. For the author, "a world of multiple international currencies is coming because the world economy is growing more multipolar, eroding the traditional basis for the dollar's monopoly." And we should not be particularly worried by this prospect, provided the transition is managed smoothly and the United States do not botch it.

This book was a stimulating reading, but I have several reservations with it. It is too much centered on the US. It is sometimes dogmatic. It only considers history in the light of the present. It lacks a theory of international currencies. And it largely ignores finance. Let me take these criticisms in turn.

Since the dollar has been the anchor of the international monetary system, it is understandable that the author gives it prominent place in his narrative. The history of European monetary integration is also well covered. But what about other countries? How do they manage their exchange rate regimes, and how do they cope with the dominance of the dollar? There is no discussion on dollarization, currency boards, crawling pegs, and other currency regimes. Japan is only mentioned as a side story, a reminder of how some countries can spectacularly mismanage their economy and lose their rank in the international order. As for China, the author is reduced to wild guesses and conjectures as to what the real intentions of its leaders are. Brazil, India, Russia and the other emerging countries are left out of the picture. If this book is to be used as a reference for government officials and academic experts engaged in G20 discussions (and I think it should), then it should broaden its scope and consider a wider range of policy challenges.

It should also be less dogmatic. Having researched the subject for years, Eichengreen rests on firm academic ground, and presents compelling evidence to back his claims. But he tends to be excessively confident and cock-sure, especially when he discusses other people's plans and ideas. He tends to close the debate before it has even started, and without giving other parties a chance to present their argument. The chapter on SDR illustrates this point: for him, this composite reserve asset is only funny money, period. There is no consideration to the role SDR could play to manage an orderly transition to a multipolar world, except to reject the idea of a substitution account as a non-starter. Likewise, people who wish to revive the role of gold or to think about an internationally-managed world currency are dismissed as cranks. He may be right, but on that account people gathered at Bretton Woods in 1944 could never have led the foundations to a new international monetary system. You need to inject some creative energy in the debate, even if some ideas seem crazy at first.

Eichengreen describes the past with an eye to the present. This can become annoying for some readers, who wish a clearer distinction was made between history and contemporary issues, and between fact and commentary. Lessons about how to manage the rise of China and to accommodate a multipolar world will certainly increase the policy relevance of the book, but at the cost of academic accuracy and durability. Twenty years after its publication, Eichengreen's thesis about the Gold Standard and the Great Depression is still widely read; this book will have a much shorter shelf life.

What is an international currency? Eichengreen repeats the textbook definition familiar to every student in economics: it should serve the three functions of money as means of payment, unit of account, and store of value. But a definition doeth not a theory make. Exorbitant Privilege doesn't make any reference to theory, neither to the hegemonic regime approach proposed by Charles P. Kindleberger that Eichengreen spent so much energy criticizing in his former essays, nor to the recent conceptualization proposed by Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas and Hélène Rey, who offer a novel theory of the exorbitant privilege of the dollar based on the consideration of U.S. assets and liabilities. As already stressed out, this is not an academic book, but a dose of academic theory would have helped.

As a last point, it seems to me that a theory of international currencies cannot abstract from the rules of global finance, including the considerations on a country's assets and liabilities that recent research has brought to the picture. Money is a financial asset, and portfolio theory may be useful to explain the motives and mechanisms by which people choose to acquire, retain, or sell an international currency. But Eichengreen does not refer to financial theory in this book. Indeed, he shows very little interest for financial market transactions, except to disparage the excesses and follies that have brought to us the greatest recession since the 1930s. By clinging to the classic view of international currency as fulfilling the three functions of money, Eichengreen turns his back on financial theory, and can only offer diatribes and invectives against the easy targets of bankers and speculators.
23 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Sobering assessment of America's future 6 novembre 2010
Par Malvin - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
"Exorbitant Privilege" by Barry Eichengreen offers an uniquely powerful analysis of the U.S. economy and its future. Mr. Eichengreen expertly blends politics, history, and economics to weave a fascinating narrative about the underappreciated but vital subject of fiscal policy. Underscoring the central importance of sound fiscal management to our lives, this book should interest policy makers and students of economics alike.

Mr. Eichengreen takes us through a brief history of American currency practices from the colonial period to today. Interestingly, we learn that foreign currencies such as the peso were commonly used well past the founding of the U.S. government and its fledgling currency, the dollar, was established. Yet, even as the U.S. grew to become the world's largest economic power, the dollar would not come to dominate international trade until after the devastation of two world wars left the U.S. standing alone as the sole remaining capitalist power. The author goes on to explain how the U.S. benefits from the dollar's status as the reserve currency of the world; an exorbitant privilege that, if squandered, would have meaningful implications for our economy.

On this point, Mr. Eichengreen discusses historic events such as the Suez Canal Crisis to illustrate how American power and the dollar are inextricably entwined. Mr. Eichengreen discusses the 2008 financial crisis which has raised serious questions about America's financial stability. Although foreigners were rightfully upset at watching their dollar investments lose value, the author coolly asserts that all serious challengers have their own flaws. However, the author believes this may well change in the future, as the European Union, China, India and Brazil repair their own deficiencies and seek to gain advantage.

In fact, Mr. Eichengreen believes the greatest threat to the dollar will not come from China but from America's own mismanagement and growing indebtedness. Although the prospect of China dumping its dollars wholesale might alarm some, Mr. Eichengreen reasons this is not likely given that China would in effect be only hurting itself. Mr. Eichengreen prescribes a structural adjustment plan akin to Germany's recent experiences from 2003 to 2010; where a combination of tax increases, spending cuts and investments in education and infrastructure might help restore a measure of economic growth and competitiveness to the U.S. economy. The alternative, the author suggests, is to risk a ballooning deficit that might trigger a wholesale rout of the dollar; with serious economic consequences for the nation.

I highly recommend this exceptionally intelligent, timely and important book to everyone.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Even a Non-Economist Can Benefit from this Book 18 janvier 2011
Par David Bower - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
It is not all that often one can finish a book and then see the same topics as headline news; that is, however, very true with this book. As a non-economist I had some digging to do to get through the book but found the effort worthwhile. None of us are immune from the forces at play and all of us will be affected by the decisions that are even now being made on financial relationships between most particularly China and the USA.

I suspect that many of us are not really clear about how the world got into the economic situation it faces today. The author attempts to provide a systematic background for present world economics and show how we arrived at this point.

Dr. Eichengreen divides his book into seven sections: "Introduction, Debut, Dominance, Rivalry, Crisis, Monopoly No More, and Dollar Crash." In the Introduction he comments on the dominance of the dollar as a reserve currency and explains the origination of the book's title, "Exorbitant Privilege." On page 4 he writes, "His finance minister, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, referred to it as America's "exorbitant privilege." This was a reference to the advantages the United States was enjoying with the dollar as the world's reserve currency.

In "Debut" Dr. Eichengreen describes the circumstances surrounding the emergence of the Federal Reserve System as the central bank for the United States. He goes on to describe the impact on the dollar imposed by World War I and the "Great Depression;" and the de-facto replacement of British sterling by the American dollar as the world's reserve currency.

"Dominance" points out the dramatic effect World War II had on establishing the dollar as the world's reserve currency and carries the story on through the late 1990's. It is pointed out that in spite of increasing competition from strengthening currencies of other nations, most particularly Japan and Germany, the American dollar still held the preeminent position.

In "Rivalry" the writer explores the development of the European Union and the eventual emergence of the Euro as a potential competitor to the dollar.

In "Crisis" Dr. Eichengreen digs into the 2008-2009 mortgage crises and the serious impact that has had on world confidence in the dollar as a reserve currency. He states on page 98: "At the root of the crisis lay financial irregularities unchecked by adequate regulation."He states on page 98: "At the root of the crisis lay financial irregularities unchecked by adequate regulation." He states on page 109: "If flawed regulation was the spark, then central bank policy was the accelerant. Financial excesses would not have spread so quickly to such destructive effect had the Fed not poured fuel on the fire."

"Monopoly No More" discusses the residual impact on the dollar of the events described in Crisis. The emergence of China, India, and Brazil as economic forces has reduced the relative impact of the United States on the world economy. Although the United States is still the biggest player on the field, it is no longer that much bigger than the competition. The writer points out one interesting fact, that in spite of the increased competition, and the economic problems it has faced, the United States dollar still remains the major reserve currency. He states on page 124, "the United States remains the largest economy in the world. It has the world's largest financial markets. This may not be true forever, but remains true now." Later in this chapter the writer discusses in some depth the emergence of China and possible alternatives to the dollar including gold and other commodities. The chapter concludes with some interesting observations; on page 151 the author writes: "Again, the natural-monopoly argument for why there should be only one consequential international currency has become less compelling as a result of economic and financial development."

In the last chapter, "Dollar Crash," Dr. Eichengreen discusses possible scenarios in some depth and concludes with this observation: "The good news, such as it is, is that the fate of the dollar is in our hands, not those of the Chinese."

With regard to this book's timeliness, I was particularly interested to see that the People's Bank of China is now permitting its New York City branch to convert dollars to yuan. Account holders at the bank may now trade or wire up to $4,000 dollars a day with an annual limit of $20,000. Non-account holders are limited to half that amount.

In summary I found the book to be slow, but very interesting and timely reading. I am certainly not an economist at any level, but found the book of great interest as the subject affects me personally, as it does you. If you have any interest in money, savings accounts, or investments you would likely find this worth the time and effort it takes to read it.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 There is a lot more to money than what we can buy with it at the store 15 décembre 2010
Par D. Brennan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
I learned more about currency, fiscal policy, the history of trade, the economics of developing nations (including the U.S.) and the wide-ranging impact of a dominant global currency than I could have imagined, and that was just in the first 100 pages of this book. For example, I have been processing letters of credit for close to 15 years, and I had no idea as to how they truly function on an architectural level, and the role they played in helping Great Britain to dominate commerce in the American Colonies, as well as on a global scale.

The history alone in this book makes it a worthy read. Most historical works ignore currency completely, as they are written by historians rather than economists. Mr. Eichengreen has provided me with a very different lens through which I can reinspect my own understanding of historical trends on a wide-ranging scale.

This book is not simply a history lesson however. It provides enough history and economics to lay the foundation for the core argument, which is that America, though our mismanagement of our own fiscal policy, is endangering an economic golden goose. The fact that the US Dollar is considered the 'gold standard' of currencies allows America to reap significant economic advantages, and allows every American to live a higher standard of living than would be the case if another nation's currency was the standard. By running continued deficits, allowing productive areas of the economy to collapse, and by maintaining atrociously low personal savings rates, we are contributing to the likelihood that other countries will adopt a different currency, or meta-currency, for the handling of trade.

At a time when our politicians cannot forge a consensus, or force through a consistent economic message, books like this can serve to educate those of us who are concerned about the issues that face great nations.
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