Contradictions and Dynamics of Global Quasi-State Money: Triffin Reloaded

Scholar in Residence Lecture 2

  • Date: Jun 20, 2023
  • Time: 05:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Herman Mark Schwartz
  • University of Virginia
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Contradictions and Dynamics of Global Quasi-State Money: Triffin Reloaded

Monetary systems are inherently unstable because the nominal value of assets fluctuates but the nominal value of debt does not and banks have an incentive to expand credit past the point where debtors can service their debt. The global monetary system is even more unstable because global use of a national currency for denominating credit/debt generates additional contradictions. This lecture walks through six contradictions or antinomies, expanding on and updating the original contradiction Robert Triffin identified between adequate trade liquidity and confidence in the redemption of dollars for gold. This lecture also contains a brief contrast of how these contradictions operated differently in the sterling and dollar eras.

Recommended for preparatory reading

2019. American Hegemony: Intellectual Property Rights, Money, and Infrastructural Power. Review of International Political Economy 26 (3): 490–519. 

2018. International Money after the Crisis: What Do We Know? In Critical Junctures in Mobile Capital, edited by Jocelyn Pixley, 131–55. Cambridge University Press. 

2021. Intellectual Property Rights and the Decay of American Hegemony. In A Hegemonic Transition? Global Economic and Security Orders in the Age of Trump, edited by Welf Werner and Florian Böller, Chapter 6. Palgrave. 

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