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By Matthew Watson (auth.)

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Extra resources for The Political Economy of International Capital Mobility

Sample text

Speculative dynamics during the golden age took time to take effect, and the manifestation of financial risk inherent in speculative dynamics could often be ameliorated by successful preemptive public policy interventions. Under the Bretton Woods system of fixed but adjustable exchange rates, for instance, a large devaluation of the domestic currency had to be actively negotiated, often stretching out over an extended period of time. This enabled both creditors and debtors to sell off remaining holdings of assets denominated in that currency, most likely in open market operations conducted with the relevant national monetary authorities.

Moreover, where governments have been reluctant to follow this policy on their own initiative, the IMF has often gone over their heads to enforce it anyway. 2 In general, governments have adopted a highly permissive attitude to the question of financial innovation. This has enabled markets to be established in derivative instruments which provide an economic link between what were previously separate financial markets. New financial risks have an unprecedented ability to jump from the pricing structure of one asset market to the pricing structure of another.

Many of the risks which are spread into society from the market environment are therefore tied to the commercial opportunities embedded in moments of market innovation (Tickell 2000: 91). , Crotty and Epstein 1996: 142; Eichengreen and Wyplosz 1996: 33–4). In such circumstances of spiralling financial risks and an associated increase in the demands for public insurance against those risks, it is hardly surprising that some have found themselves able to speak of a fiscal crisis of the state (O’Connor 2000).

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