Global Finance and Protests in Opposition

¶ … firm’s finance team aspect international finance lead a discussion team. This briefing important global financial crisis began 2007. The briefing needed provide foundation finance team versed international aspects finance.

Describe when and why central banks buy either their own currency or the currency of another nation in an effort to control exchange rates.

A central bank can influence the value of its national currency by raising or lowering interest rates, thereby encouraging borrowing and spending by other banks, businesses, and consumers. It can also affect other nations’ currency values by buying or selling its reserves of another nation’s currency, thereby raising or lowering the value of that currency. A central bank may wish to depreciate its own currency by selling it on the open market to encourage foreign investment and tourism or to encourage purchase of its exported goods abroad (Floating vs. fixed exchanges, 2011, CMSFX). However, a currency that is worth less also means that it is more expensive for residents of the home nation to buy goods and services abroad and to travel, when they exchange their money for the native currency.

What did the central banks do to stabilize the financial systems in 2007 — 2009?

To stabilize the failing U.S. economy, the Federal Reserve drastically slashed interest rates. This was intended discourage saving and encourage borrowing by consumers and businesses and also to liberalize financial policy for banks wary of extending even short-term loans necessary for regular transactions. It increased its infusion of cash into the economy sharply as well. Other banks worldwide pursued similar policies. “The Bank of England base rate at the beginning of the financial crisis was 5.75%. Its discount rate was 1% higher. The Fed funds rate was 5.25% and its discount rate was 0.5% higher. The ECB rate was 4%, with a more variable discount usually up to 1% higher. The Fed took a more aggressive approach to cutting interest rates in 2007. It cut twice at regular FOMC meetings on 18 September and 11 December” (Morgan 2009). In contrast, the European Central Bank, fearing rising inflation rates, did not slash interest rates as drastically. This has made it more difficult for the EU countries that were hardest-hit by the crisis, such as Ireland and Greece, given that they cannot lower the value of their currency to bring in foreign dollars and tourism and deal with their debt and cannot infuse cash to stimulate their economies (Baker 2011). And the Bank of England “was notably more reluctant than the Fed or ECB to adopt loosened liquidity policies for commercial banks” (Morgan 2011).

In an effort to stabilize the financial system how much money, in U.S. dollar equivalent and as a percentage of the country’s GDP, did the European Central Bank, Bank of England, Bank of China, and the Federal Reserve put into the economy in 2008 and 2009?

The two U.S. stimulus packages totaled nearly $1 trillion during 2008 and 2009; the ECB plan includes targeted and temporary measures amounting to 200 billion Euros, or 1.5% of EU GDP; the Bank of England stimulus was 200 billion Pounds; the Bank of China deployed a 4 trillion yen stimulus package

How well did each country’s efforts work at stabilizing the economy?

The U.S. unemployment rate remains high and the stock market remains on shaky ground, but overall the consensus is that the actions of the Fed prevented a massive, worldwide financial collapse. The Euro Zone has been plagued with difficulties because of the struggles of various governments to come an agreement that can address the various fortunes of its component states, some of which have recovered, others of which are in grave financial jeopardy. “At least four members of the ECB’s governing board voted against buying Italian and Spanish bonds last Thursday because of fears that the intervention would leave the central bank holding the lion’s share of the £523billion (€600bn) in debt issued by both governments in the course of a year” (Market plunge, 2011, Telegraph).

What appears to be the major constraint that the central banks used to determine the limits of the monetary injections into the economy? Did the United States use the same or different criteria?

To what extent to do you agree/disagree with the actions of the central banks during this time?

The major constraint limiting the actions of most central banks was concerns about inflation. The Fed was far less concerned about inflation or stagflation (lagging growth and high inflation). Given the magnitude of the crisis, the Fed’s aggressive actions seem warranted. What does seem unwise is that calls for tighter regulation of the financial industry that gave birth to the crisis have grown muted in Congress, and the conditions for another meltdown born of a lack of transparency in lending could arise again.


Baker, Dean. (2011). The European Central Bank. Business Insider.

Retrieved August 7, 2011 at

Floating vs. fixed exchanges. (2011). CMSFX. Retrieved August 7, 2011 at

Market plunge will get worse unless European Central Bank buys Italian debt. (2011).

The Telegraph. Retrieved August 7, 2011 at

Morgan, J. (2009). The limits of central bank policy. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 33 (4):

581-608. Retrieved August 7, 2011 at doi: 10.1093/cje/bep026

Occupy Movement

Global Finance and Protests in Opposition

The global protest movements against the world’s financial institutions alter in their goals and scope, but ultimately erupted as an angry reaction to the financial institutions that accepted taxpayer money and were served no punishment at all, while the middle class around the world suffers with fewer government benefits and weaker economies. The economy has actually recovered, says economists, but only the ultra rich have noticed any improvement as their stocks have risen. The problem of unemployment is a problem not easily fixed, even in a good economy, as it points to structural problems in the way the middle class is arranged. These problems need to be addressed by politicians if the middle class is going to be growing and evolving once again. In the Economist,

Schumpeter does have a good point, and a simple apology and peace offering would help to assuage the protestors significantly. The wealthy have always been stubborn in this regard, however, and they feel that they are the only class capable of increasing job opportunities and handling large sums of financial data.

One of the biggest problems in the financial sector is the incredibly complex system of domestic tax and regulation laws. The only individuals who can interpret these laws are high paid corporate lawyers, in many cases, individual members of congress show absolutely no regard to simplifying this process, and thereby closing many loopholes in the system. The unfair advantages of corporations are well documented, and when international transactions and banking comes into play, the financial system becomes only further congested with regulations all over the place.

I do not believe the solution to the problems of the banking sector lie in heavier taxation or regulation, but rather simplified taxation and regulation. Blanketing corporations under the same tax code will remove loopholes written into the system over the years, and will greatly increase understanding of corporate finance, and will increase transparency in the accounting departments of these huge firms. Regulatory arbitrage, or heavy handedness, will weigh down the sector and reduce access to money, which will slow down the global system even more. It is far better to be smart with the financial sector, and to make it work for the average middle class citizen, rather than against them.

The international protest movements, and specifically Occupy Wall Street, are the most watched and talked about protest movements in years. Occupy London is in protest to the European Union bailouts of Greece, Portugal, and Ireland.

Occupy Wall Street takes a position not necessarily against financial institutions, but rather against the top 1% income bracket, who refuses to pay higher taxes, even though their marginal tax rate is significantly less than the middle class. These movements have made it a point to not stick to one position, but rather to stand against the industry’s domination in its entirety. This, in my opinion, is a poor choice. Having several very specific demands of the financial sector, such as closing some very costly loopholes already identified in Washington, is a far more effective stance to take. Without focus, these movements will indeed lose steam, as individual protestors tire of not seeing results, and the protests leadership splits without a specific rallying point.

The finance industry needs a better response to the protest movement attacking it. The Economist, Oct. 29, 2011. Print.

Occupy Wall Street, 2011. Retrieved at

Occupy London, 2011. Retrieved at

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