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Capital Flows and Domestic and International Order: Trilemmas from Macroeconomics to Political Economy and International Relations

Author

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  • Michael Bordo
  • Harold James

Abstract

This paper explains the problem of adjustment to the challenges of globalization in terms of the logic underpinning four distinct policy constraints or trilemmas, and their interrelationship, and in particular the disturbances that arise from capital flows. The analysis of a policy trilemma was developed first as a diagnosis of exchange rate problems (the incompatibility of free capital flows with monetary policy autonomy and a fixed exchange rate regime); but the approach can be extended. The second trilemma we describe is the incompatibility between financial stability, capital mobility and fixed exchange rates. The third example extends the analysis to politics, and looks at the strains in reconciling democratic politics with monetary autonomy and capital movements. Finally we examine the security aspect and look at the interactions of democracy with capital flows and international order. The trilemmas in short depict the way that domestic monetary, financial, economic and political systems are interconnected with the international. They can be described as the impossible policy choices at the heart of globalization. Frequently, the trilemmas conjure up countervailing anti-globalization tendencies and trends.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Bordo & Harold James, 2015. "Capital Flows and Domestic and International Order: Trilemmas from Macroeconomics to Political Economy and International Relations," NBER Working Papers 21017, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21017
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Moritz Schularick & Alan M. Taylor, 2012. "Credit Booms Gone Bust: Monetary Policy, Leverage Cycles, and Financial Crises, 1870-2008," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 1029-1061, April.
    2. Kris James Mitchener & Marc Weidenmier, 2008. "Trade and Empire," NBER Working Papers 13765, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Helene Rey, 2013. "Dilemma not trilemma: the global cycle and monetary policy independence," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 1-2.
    4. Jagdish N. Bhagwati, 2004. "In Defense of Globalization: It Has a Human Face," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 94(6), pages 9-20, November-.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. La globalisation financière et son lot de trilemmes
      by Martin Anota in D'un champ l'autre on 2015-03-26 02:16:52

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    Cited by:

    1. Jevtic, Aleksandar R., 2020. "Gold rush: The political economy of gold standard adoption in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia," eabh Papers 20-02, The European Association for Banking and Financial History (EABH).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations

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