Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Stupid Economist tricks

Was reading the Economist, the Aug. 13-19 issue and found two very jarring and wrong statements.

On page 71 in the article "Poor dollar standard":

"The 66 members of the dollar block have a collective GDP of over 9 trillion...the list includes...rebels such as Venezuela, which expresses disdain for American imperialism even as it surrenders its monetary sovereignty to America's central bank".

Wow. That is amazingly incorrect.

According to page 89 of the same issue, Venezuela's inflation rate is around 27% while the America's is under 3%. It's pretty clear that Hugo, for all his faults, hasn't "surrendered" his inalienable right to have an irresponsible national monetary policy.

On page 70 in the "Buttonwood" column:

"The Bretton Woods system had strict capital controls, designed to protect the exchange-rate peg. But these became unnecessary in an era of floating rates."

This is somewhere between naive and wrong. First, the written articles of the IMF from Bretton Woods, mandated full currency convertiblity for trade purposes (which wasn't actually achieved until the early 1960s), but allowed individual countries to decide whether or not to have capital controls. Controls were not part of the system requirements. Further, rather than the end of the Bretton Woods era causing the decline of capital controls, as the article claims, the decline of the effectiveness of controls DURING the Bretton Woods era helped to bring about the demise of the system.

Buttonwood should seriously consider reading Barry Eichengreen's classic "Globalizing Capital".

Economist FAIL.

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