Book Review: Currencies after the Crash

Sara Eisen is smart.  How smart is Sara Eisen?  She can write twelve pages on currencies, invite some clever and opinionated people to write articles for her, and serve as editor of the book, and thus get top billing for a moderate amount of work.

There are other reasons why I think she is smart — she is an able interviewer, and maybe there is not a lot of difference between choosing people to write articles for you, and knowing what to ask someone that you choose to interview.  Both require understanding the views of the person in question.

Be that as it may, the ten writing the represent different points of view.  Let me briefly describe each one:

1) Gary Shilling — The US Dollar has its weaknesses, but is stronger than all of the alternatives, because the US possesses a lot of strengths not found in the rest of the world.

2) Stephen L. Jen — The Chinese Yuan will become a reserve currency, but it is highly unlikely that it will significantly replace the US Dollar in the intermediate term.

3) Jorg Asmussen — The Euro can be an alternative to the US Dollar if it overcomes integration issues, and continues to deepen economic integration.

4) John Taylor — Assuming the Euro survives its imbalances, a shrinking population and sclerotic economic policies will make the Eurozone less important by 2050.

5) Megan Greene — The Eurozone will be better off if weaker nations leave.

6) Anoop Singh & Papa N’Diaye — Even though rebalancing to internal growth through increased domestic consumption will slow down Chinese growth, in the long run it will lead to a better, healthier Chinese economy and currency.

7) James Rickards — Competitive devaluation is leading to currency wars, but embracing deflation and austerity as the Euro has is the right path.  We can do the same thing globally through the IMF with their SDRs.

8 ) Peter Boockvar — We need to tie the hands of the Central Bankers, because they overshoot and make economic volatility worse.  One way to do so is through a gold or other commodity standard.

9) Robert Johnson — Much like the authors in Chapter six, except more pessimistic about whether it will happen.

Do You Want a Conclusion or Not?

This  book offers no unified point of view or conclusion, and that is a strength, because it mirrors the debate that exists in the world today.  If you are not confused, you don’t get it.  That said, the book could have been much stronger if the ten authors were allowed to respond to the other authors briefly, with a brief rebuttal from the original author.  The weakness of the book is that there is no interaction, no attempt to see how the views fight or agree with each other.  This could have been a better book, but I recommend it as it is.

Quibbles

Already expressed.

Who would benefit from this book: If you want to learn nine different views on currencies and global macroeconomics, this could be the book for you.  If you want to, you can buy it here: Currencies After the Crash: The Uncertain Future of the Global Paper-Based Currency System.

Full disclosure: The publisher sent me the book after asking me if I wanted it.

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1 Comment

  • Rivers says:

    Sara Eisen has a book ? I thought she was just a reporter. Anyways good for her. Anyways on your point #1 about Gary Shilling and US dollar, its hard to believe that the dollar can stay strong but lets see. He is though now bullish Korea too. Check it out. http://garyshilling.blogspot.com