Taking stock: global imbalances. Where do we stand and where are we aiming to?
For two and a half decades the US has accumulated large current account deficits, mainly financed (though to different extents at different times) by the savings of the sluggish European and Japanese economies, of the fast-growing Asian countries and of the oil-producing nations. This peculiar situation represents what has been called the global imbalances phenomenon. This work reviews and analyses several contrasting contributions on a series of issues regarding global imbalances, namely their nature, their underlying forces, their past evolution and their expected developments. This work also contributes to the literature in that it distinguishes and clarifies the issues of sustainability and vulnerability of global imbalances. In addition, this work tackles the relationship between global imbalances and the recent reforms and stance of the IMF, the link between global imbalances and international reserve accumulation, the implications of global imbalances on economic theory and modelling, and the compatibility of global imbalances with two alternative and stylized representations of the current international monetary system.
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