Fetters of Gold and Paper: How Fixed Exchange Rates Can Kill You

New paper from Barry Eichengreen on that Barbarella relic, or was that barbarous?

Fetters of Gold and Paper

We describe in this essay why the gold standard and the euro are extreme forms of fixed exchange rates, and how these policies had their most potent effects in the worst peaceful economic periods in modern times. While we are lucky to have avoided another catastrophe like the Great Depression in 2008-9, mainly by virtue of policy makers’ aggressive use of monetary and fiscal stimuli, the world economy still is experiencing many difficulties. As in the Great Depression, this second round of problems stems from the prevalence of fixed exchange rates. Fixed exchange rates facilitate business and communication in good times but intensify problems when times are bad. [Emphasis mine]