Thomas Palley On International Coordination

Thomas Palley has a new article Coordinate Currencies or Stagnate on international coordination of exchange rates. (h/t Matias Vernengo). He has a nice small critique of the Chicago school according to which “market forces” work toward resolving imbalances.

It is great such a thing has been raised because the importance of policy coordination (in general – monetary, fiscal and exchange rates) is often forgotten.

In an article Agenda For International Coordination Of Macroeconomic Policies, Tobin wrote [1]

Coordinate policies! So economists urge governments. Financiers, journalists, pundits, politicians take up the cry. Central bankers and finance ministers agree, as do presidents and prime ministers. They meet, they talk, they announce progress. It turns out to amount to very little…

But the global imbalance has worsened and it has now created a situation in which such coordination is more badly needed.

Wynne Godley had been warning of such things in the 2000s. In a 2005 article [2] with his collaborators, he wrote:

A resolution of the strategic problems now facing the U.S. and world economies can probably be achieved only via an international agreement that would change the international pattern of aggregate demand, combined with a change in relative prices. Together, these measures would ensure that trade is generally balanced at full employment…Those hoping for a market solution may be chasing a mirage.

I have also found the last words in academic literature very insightful [3]:

… It is inconceivable that such a large rebalancing could occur without a drastic change in the institutions responsible for running the world economy—a change that would involve placing far less than total reliance on market forces.

Time will tell how right he was 😉


  1. James Tobin, Agenda For International Coordination Of Macroeconomic Policies, Ch 24, p 633, Essays In Economics, Volume 4: National And International, The MIT Press, 1996.
  2. Wynne Godley, Dimitri Papadimitriou, Claudio Dos Santos and Gennaro Zezza – The United States And Her Creditors: Can The Symbiosis Last?, Levy Institute Strategic Analysis, September 2005. Link
  3. Wynne Godley, Dimitri Papadimitrou and Gennaro Zezza – Prospects For The United States And The World – A Crisis That Conventional Remedies Cannot Resolve, Levy Institute Strategic Analysis, December 2008. Link

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