Currency Crises, Monetary Union and the Conduct of Monetary Policy: A Debate among Leading Economists

By Paul J. Zak | Go to book overview

7. Policies to Combat Monetary Crises in Developing Countries

Introduced by Richard N. Cooper

Corden: We're still in the general area of development issues. I think we can agree that we've done Mexico. There are still a few other countries left. I'll just draw your attention to two broad areas. First, certain southeast Asia countries running big current account deficits, particularly Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Mundell: Why talk about these ephemeral issues? Two years from now, these issues are going to seem really old hat. It's like an International Monetary Fund committee, it's their job to take care of those problems.

Corden: Well, it raises issues similar to Mexican issues. We don't have to engage in short-term forecasting, but there are basic issues: how one responds to capital inflows, and the likelihood of their returning. The second major issue is China: the long-term and short-term future of Hong Kong and China.

Cooper: This is in the spirit of what Bob Mundell implied. I think that the phenomenon we saw in Mexico was actually a worldwide phenomenon. There are many examples today. Korea, you mentioned Thailand and Malaysia; but also India, even Pakistan, and some of the eastern and central European countries. It is the following: as these countries deregulate and move more clearly to the market, they have had very different starting positions, from extreme central planning to just a heavy hand of government.

As they move towards deregulation, first they become possible to invest in. Second, they become attractive to invest in from a juridical point of view. Third, they reveal very high visible rates of return compared with those prevailing in the rich countries.

-94-

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