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The Dollar Trap:
How the U.S. Dollar Tightened Its Grip on Global Finance
Eswar S. Prasad
With a new preface by the author

Winner of the 2015 Gold Medal in Economics, Axiom Business Book Awards
Honorable Mention for the 2015 PROSE Award in Business, Finance & Management, Association of American Publishers
One of Financial Times (FT.com) Best Economics Books of 2014, chosen by Martin Wolf
One of China Business News’ Financial Books of the Year for 2014

Paperback | 2015 | $19.95 | £14.95 | ISBN: 9780691168524
440 pp. | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | 8 halftones. 17 line illus. 6 tables.
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eBook | ISBN: 9781400873647 |
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The U.S. dollar's dominance seems under threat. The near collapse of the U.S. financial system in 2008–2009, political paralysis that has blocked effective policymaking, and emerging competitors such as the Chinese renminbi have heightened speculation about the dollar’s looming displacement as the main reserve currency. Yet, as The Dollar Trap powerfully argues, the financial crisis, a dysfunctional international monetary system, and U.S. policies have paradoxically strengthened the dollar’s importance.

Eswar Prasad examines how the dollar came to have a central role in the world economy and demonstrates that it will remain the cornerstone of global finance for the foreseeable future. Marshaling a range of arguments and data, and drawing on the latest research, Prasad shows why it will be difficult to dislodge the dollar-centric system. With vast amounts of foreign financial capital locked up in dollar assets, including U.S. government securities, other countries now have a strong incentive to prevent a dollar crash.

Prasad takes the reader through key contemporary issues in international finance—including the growing economic influence of emerging markets, the currency wars, the complexities of the China-U.S. relationship, and the role of institutions like the International Monetary Fund—and offers new ideas for fixing the flawed monetary system. Readers are also given a rare look into some of the intrigue and backdoor scheming in the corridors of international finance.

The Dollar Trap offers a panoramic analysis of the fragile state of global finance and makes a compelling case that, despite all its flaws, the dollar will remain the ultimate safe-haven currency.

Eswar S. Prasad is a professor in the Dyson School at Cornell University and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Reviews:

"Thoughtful."--Jeff Sommer, New York Times

"[A] surprising argument. . . . [L]ucid."--David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

"Richly detailed study of global finances, examining how and why the dollar became the favored currency of international trade."--Kirkus

"To understand how the world of international finance works, what the agendas are and what is at stake, this work is indispensable."--Henny Sender, Financial Times

"In his authoritative new book on the dollar, Eswar Prasad . . . argues that China and other foreign countries that own around half the outstanding US federal government debt are trapped in a risky game where the US may be tempted to renege on its debt obligations by printing more dollars."--John Plender, Financial Times

"A lively and compelling analysis on currency wars in the wake of the financial crisis--and the likely persistence of the U.S. dollar as the world's pre-eminent currency."--Harold James, Central Banking Journal

Endorsements:

"As Eswar Prasad points out, there is something paradoxical about a world where the dollar strengthens with the U.S. financial crisis, capital flows from poor countries to rich ones, and more sophisticated finance often leads to greater risk. Prasad's book unpacks these paradoxes in a provocative and challenging way. It deserves the attention of all those who care about the future of the dollar and the international monetary system."--Lawrence H. Summers, Harvard University

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