How realistic is a North American currency?
Commentary: Uniting U.S., Canada, Mexico money could result from crisis
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL MARKET WATCH
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Thomas Jefferson once said: "When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on." As the global financial system pushes on a string, investors are desperately trying to hold tight.
The New World Order is upon us, full of hope, promise and a fair amount of fear. In our recent discussion regarding the direction of our country, we noted the risks of catering to conventional wisdom and the implications for the U.S. dollar. See MarketWatch column on New World Order.
As governments take on more risk -- as they price assets on behalf of the market and transfer debt from private to public -- the common denominator, or release valve, becomes the currency.
If our economic condition is allowed to take medicine in the form of debt destruction, the greenback will appreciate, and asset classes as a whole will deflate. If we continue to inject drugs that mask symptoms rather than address the disease, the likelihood of a seismic readjustment increases in kind.
The deflationary forces in the marketplace are pervasive, and the "other side" of our current equation, hyperinflation, may be years away. Given the magnitude, breadth and pace of the global financial epidemic, however, we must explore each side of the twisted ride.
Years ago, the Federal Reserve wrote a "solution paper" regarding the need to combat zero-bound interest rates. The concern was the flight of capital from the U.S. and an option discussed was a two-tiered currency, one for U.S citizens and one for foreigners.
Canadian economist Herbert Grubel first introduced a potential manifestation of this concept in 1999. The North American Currency -- called the "Amero" in select circles -- would effectively comingle the Canadian dollar, U.S. dollar and Mexican peso.
On its face, while difficult to imagine, it makes intuitive sense. The ability to combine Canadian natural resources, American ingenuity and cheap Mexican labor would allow North America to compete better on a global stage.
Experience has taught us, however, that perceived solutions introduced by policy makers and politicians don't always have the desired effect.