Friday, March 25, 2005

US: The Overstretch Myth

At the peak of its global power the United Kingdom was a net creditor, but as it entered the twentieth century, it started losing its economic dominance to Germany and the United States. In contrast, the United States is a large net debtor. But in its case, no plausible challenger to its economic leadership exists, and its share of the global economy will not decline. Focusing exclusively on the NIIP obscures the United States' institutional, technological, and demographic advantages. The United States continues to reap major gains from what Charles de Gaulle called its "exorbitant privilege," its unique role in providing global liquidity by running chronic external imbalances. The resulting inflow of productivity-enhancing capital has strengthened its underlying economic position. Only one development could upset this optimistic prognosis: an end to the technological dynamism, openness to trade, and flexibility that have powered the U.S. economy. The biggest threat to U.S. hegemony, accordingly, stems not from the sentiments of foreign investors, but from protectionism and isolationism at home.


At March 29, 2005 7:37 AM, Blogger Abe said...

Good analysis. I have just one quibble. Is the trade imbalance the cause of the capital inflows or the effect? It is popular to ignore the capital flows altogether and obsess about the trade deficeit. Ultimately, the payments must balance when goods, services, and capital flows are totaled. The American consumer prefers foreign goods, but the foreign consumer prefers American assets.



Post a Comment

<< Home