From beggar-thy-neighbor to bugger-thy-saver

Bill McBride at Calculated Risk agrees with Zimbabwe Ben when he says that today's money-printing orgy isn't a case of "beggar-thy-neighbor."

Zimbabwe Ben:
Indeed, the decline in the value of the pound after 1931 was associated with a relatively early recovery from the Depression by the United Kingdom, in part because of some rebound in exports. However, according to this view, the gains to the depreciating country were equaled or exceeded by the losses to its trading partners, which became less internationally competitive--hence, "beggar thy neighbor."
The idea behind beggar-thy-neighbor is that by devaluing your currency, you make exports cheap and imports expensive, and steal manufacturing jobs from your trading partners.

We have been using the phrase "global competitive devaluation" here for years, but McBride and Zimbabwe Ben have a point. There's nothing "competitive" in this clubby cabal of money-printing central bankers. They are all printing and devaluing their currencies relative to real assets, but currencies are being devalued at generally similar rates so no one central bank is trying to get way ahead of the others and "beggar-thy-neighbor." It's global co-ordinated devaluation, and the victim is not a trading partner nation but anyone anywhere who has saved money and is now earning 0% while the value of his currency falls.

Welcome to "bugger-thy-saver."


Doo Doo Econ said...

Nicely done!

Ed said...


Happy Super Tuesday!