The Case Against Trying to Stabilize the Dollar
Better domestic economic policies in the 15 years since the collapse of the Bretton Woods system would have prevented the extreme fluctuations of the dollar's exchange value during those years. The pursuit of policies here and abroad that are appropriate for domestic growth in the future should reduce the likelihood of such substantial exchange rate swings in the years ahead. But elevating exchange rate stability to a separate goal of economic policy could have serious adverse consequences. Trying to achieve that goal would mean diverting monetary and fiscal policies from their customary roles and thereby, risking excessive inflation and unemployment and inadequate capital formation. Succeeding in the efforts to achieve dollar stability would mean harmful distortions in the balance of trade and in the international flow of capital.
Published: American Economic Review, Vol. 79, no. 2 (1989): 36-40.