The few times I have seen stories for which I have some personal knowledge appear in a newspaper, they have been only roughly accurate enough to covey some vague, overall grain of truth about it with important details about the experience of the story simply lost. And sometimes, while reading stories in a newspaper, I wonder how often this phenomenon of “roughly right” occurs. I suppose it is better than no information at all. But how much weight any story should be given when forming an opinion about it in my perception is very uncertain.
This post isn’t intended to be about newspaper reporting (though the media are easy targets). It’s more about whether when a story is told and then retold many times it maintains any integrity as to be at least roughly the same as the first time.
At least it seems to be an important point when hearing stories about those evil currency manipulators, a story that has been around nearly as long as I can remember, and probably much longer than that, which naturally begs consideration of the source and questioning what the person telling it is really trying to say.
I recall seeing a post on Historinas quite a while ago that has some interesting graphs with it that showed that just prior to the financial crisis the major central banks across the world all tightened policy at nearly the same time. There could be any number of reasons for it to appear to have been coordinated, and I wouldn’t pretend to know whether it was. But looking at the graphs, the world of monetary policy appears to be awfully small, yet full of wonder about epic blunders being committed at every last one at the same time.
And I wonder, what if the currency manipulation story is about something simpler than the sort of complex beggar thy neighbor conspiracy with intent to defraud that is often conveyed. It could be more about the side effect of straight up IT layered on top of global commodities markets. In such case the panties in a wad over what may be judged to be excess aggregate demand elsewhere would make more sense. I often get the feeling that other countries around the world are urged to damage themselves with monetary policy as much as we have or more in order to correct some perceived “imbalance,” and I really can’t blame them for reluctance to cooperate.
If this speculation is anything close to the real gripe, my possible solution to the problem isn’t for other countries to hurt themselves with IT as we have, but rather we stop hurting ourselves with IT that has reasoning from a price change built into it as a main feature. To continue on with IT on top of the mass embrace of globalism isn’t rational. It needs to go, the sooner the better.