Tuesday, September 06, 2011

So the Swiss Franc has fallen and is no longer as much of a safe haven

The move of the Swiss National Bank to effectively link the Swiss Franc to the Euro should be seen in the context of the currency wars that started in the 1970s with the US delinking from gold and starting to print money in unconstrained quantities - encouraging everyone to follow suit.

As anyone who has even elementary economics understands, this naturally led to much faster growth but much more volatile growth. When the Chinese starting printing more money (I mean that not only literally but also figuratively - there are many sorts of money), it resulted in the export boom which has benefited China over the last few decades. As that started hurting the American economy, the Americans instead of going for sensible global trade rules, asked the Chinese to revalue their currency. This the Chinese refused to do. Americans, instead of going for sensible trade rules, decided to devalue their currency further. I have mentioned only the US-Chinese ding-dong, but hardly any country stayed outside the competitive devaluation of currencies, except Switzerland (which has also tried once or twice to devalue its currency, but without any conviction or effectiveness till now).

Finally, Switzerland has also joined the world in devaluing its currency.

But this game cannot go on forever. Competitive devaluation of currency is a fool's game, with temporary gains and long-term damage to the global economy. When this fool's game reaches its limits, there are only two further games possible: protectionism and war. The alternative was always stable currencies and sensible global rules. Sphere: Related Content

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