Global Imbalances and the Key Currency Regime: The Case for a Commodity Reserve Currency
This paper considers Kaldor's 1964 proposal for a commodity reserve currency (CRC) as a serious alternative to the current system, which has the US dollar as the world reserve currency. It argues that the reserve-currency status of the US dollar helped to create global imbalances and financial fragility pre-empting the current crisis. The primary goal of the CRC was to resolve the 1960 Triffin dilemma, which remains a problem today. Following a brief history of alternative monetary reform proposals, the CRC is outlined. Backed by a basket of 30 or so commodities, the CRC would fix their price index in terms of the international reserve and reduce the disorderly swings in individual commodity prices. Sovereign governments would be free to fix or float their national currencies to the CRC. With growing fears over global warming and national resource security, particularly in the world's poorest countries, the introduction of a CRC could reduce supply constraints, stabilize costs of production, promote global effective demand from the periphery and balance growth between periphery and core countries.
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