In science and philosophy, a paradigm is a distinct set of concepts or thought patterns, including theories, research methods, postulates, and standards for what constitutes legitimate contributions to a field. Currencies are trading in a false paradigm in that they have been sheltered from the storm of volatility by existing in a rather closed system. Wealth is contained within this system of fiat money by laws and rules that discourage freedom of movement. It is the coordinated collusion of the major central banks that has allowed this charade to exist. The fact it has not been recognized or acknowledged does not alter nor does it guarantee the system will continue. The failure or major repricing of any of the world's four major reserve currencies will destroy the myth that major currencies are immune to the same fate that has haunted so many currencies throughout history. When the nations granting them have proven unable to control their budgets their currency ends being crushed under the weight of debt.
|Central Bank Balance Sheets Have Exploded|
As far as the idea China will tank the dollar because they are reducing their holdings of U.S. Treasuries in order to support the yuan a different story is emerging. We must remember the world currency market is a complicated place full of paths that fall away or come back on themselves and many of the tools used are like a double-edged sword that cut both ways. In the case of China, capital is sneaking and flowing out of the country faster than the government can create new ways to bolster the currency and sadly for them it is flowing into America strengthening the dollar even more. Adding to China's woes is that as their currency falls they will hear more calls from Trump supporters to place duties and tariffs on their exports to America in an effort to level the playing field and reduce the trade deficit.
|Currency Trade Creates Illusion Of Stability|
The different growth paths are a symptom of a general problem that has haunted currency unions for centuries. Competitiveness and productivity develop at a different pace in different countries. Over time, this leads to large differences in growth and the shifting of wealth among the members of a currency union. When the dollar union of the U.S. threatened to fall apart during the Great Depression because of the different economic conditions and unequal potential apparent between states, the federal government found it necessary to enact federal income transfers from prosperous states to aid ailing ones. The federal budget rapidly increased and this practice of income transfers from one state to another to bind the states together as a union became permanently embedded in our system.
While in the United States a no bailout policy of crisis-hit states that had been enacted decades ago remains a somewhat "masked equalizer" accomplished through inter-system wealth transfers has contributed that special something that the Euro-zone completely lacks. Inequality has a way of growing and must be addressed early, After a certain point, it becomes too late to implement such a system that transfers wealth from the most prosperous to the most needy because some people will without a doubt feel cheated and others resentful. The bigger a debt problem and inequality is allowed to grow the more people and institutions suffer when they become the victims of a default. Greece has fallen and continues to suffer the consequences of this while much bigger countries like Italy and Spain are teetering on the brink.
During the last several years the question of how to exit the Euro-zone monetary union and the euro has become an important economic issue. Uncertainty and fear relating to its costs tend to discourage political leaders from taking the risk and decisive steps towards an exit but if one or more sizeable countries bolt from the shelter of the euro or the Euro-zone the currency could quickly unravel. A major cause of the Euro-zone problem is growing inequality among its members exacerbated by the lack of system-wide bank protection which causes money and wealth to flee the weaker countries and their failing banks. Japan faces an entirely different problem while national debt is an issue for the central banks that issue both currencies. Japan's debt is much larger and the country faces a demographic crisis that leaves it forced to support a population comprised of citizens far too old to work.
These problems give credence to the possibility that both of these currencies will fail at some point and if they do it is very likely that in our modern era, where wealth leaps across borders at the push of a button, their death will be fast, and swift. Like many Americans, I have railed against our growing debt and questioned whether it would destroy the dollar, however, when looking at the miserable alternative currencies before us the dollar is without a doubt king. We must not underestimate the advantage the dollar has being the world's reserve currency or the size of debt floating across the globe comprised in dollar based agreements. If the dollar proves victorious in the currency wars and is indeed the last major currency standing the people of America will reap the benefits of a game well played or just plain luck.