"The U.S Dollar: A Political Instrument or a Measure of Value"

This lecture examines debates about the sustainability of the U.S. dollar’s position in the international monetary system. James argues that capital flows arising out of patterns of economic growth and transnational migration, as well as from changing savings behavior in many emerging economies, makes the position of the United States sustainable over the medium (but not the long) term. The U.S, like Australia and the U.K. , represents a secure country with a strong protection of property rights and at the same time projects a vision of the ‘good life’. These big current account deficit countries are contrasted with smaller centers of capital movements, such as Switzerland or Singapore , which maintain large surpluses. The foreign policy consequences of these differences are also examined.

Please be advised that this lecture will take place at the Munk Centre at the University of Toronto (Vivian and David Campbell Conference Facility), not CIGI.

A light lunch will be provided.

Speaker Bio

Harold James is Professor of History and International Affairs at Princeton University and Marie Curie Professor at the European University Institute, Florence. He was educated at Cambridge University and was a Fellow of Peterhouse before coming to the United States in 1986. His books include: The German Slump: Politics and Economics 1924 1936, Oxford, 1986 (Oxford University Press) (paperback 1987); A German Identity 1770 1990, London 1989 (Weidenfeld and Nicolson), New York 1989 (Routledge Chapman Hall); International Monetary Cooperation since Bretton Woods, New York and Washington D.C. 1996 (Oxford University Press and International Monetary Fund); Monetary and Fiscal Unification in Nineteenth Century Germany; What Can Kohl Learn from Bismarck?, Princeton 1997 (Princeton Essays in International Finance); The End of Globalization: Lessons from the Great Depression, Cambridge Mass. 2001 (Harvard University Press, translated into Chinese, German, Greek, Korean, Japanese, Spanish); The Deutsche Bank and the Nazi Economic War Against the Jews, New York/Cambridge, 2001 (Cambridge University Press); Europe Reborn: A History 1914-2000, (Longman/Pearson 2003). His most recent books are Family Capitalism (Harvard University Press 2006) and The Roman Predicament (Princeton University Press 2006). In 2004 he was awarded the first Helmut Schmidt Prize for Transatlantic Economic History, and in 2005 the Ludwig Erhard Prize for Writing on Economics.