At the Institute for New Economic Thinking conference in Berlin, economist Joe Stiglitz delivered a presentation titled Is Mercantilism Doomed to Fail? China, Germany, and Japan and the Exhaustion of Debtor Countries.The basic idea is: A few powerhouses like China, Germany, and Japan, plus some commodity based economies, have thrived in a system where they do all the exporting, and a few countries like the US run massive trade deficits.
But that system is coming to an end, as countries realise that their trade deficits are unsustainable, and seek to become trade surplus countries at the same time. Of course, not everyone can run surpluses, so this becomes a game of hot potato, with everyone pushing the deficit to someone else, via currency devaluation and other aggressive trade moves.
In this presentation, Stiglitz explains why the system is heading towards collapse.
Stiglitz hints a globalist solution, with a non-dollar reserve currency, and more coordination of monetary policy to avoid currency wars and competitive devaluations.