The overwhelming fact of the global currency system is that America needs a much weaker dollar to bring its economy back into kilter and avoid slow ruin, yet the rest of the world cannot easily handle the consequences of such a wrenching adjustment. There is not enough demand to go around.
Asian investment in plant has run ahead of Western ability to consume. The debt-strapped households of Middle America, or Britain and Spain, can no longer hold up the dysfunctional edifice. Asians must take over, or it will come down on their own heads.
The countries actively intervening in exchange markets to suppress their currencies – China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, even Switzerland, to name a few – are all too often the same ones that have the biggest trade surpluses with the US.
They are taking active steps to prevent America extricating itself from the worst unemployment since the Great Depression, now 17.1pc on the latest U6 index and rising again.
Each country is doing so for understandable reasons: Japan to avoid a deflationary crisis, China to hold together a political order that is more fragile than it looks. In both these cases they are trapped because they clung too long to a mercantilist export strategy, failing to wean themselves off American demand when the going was good.