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Playing Monopoly with the Devil: Developing World Needs to Adopt the Dollar as its Currency

Related Bio: Manuel Hinds, Former Salvadoran Finance Minister
October 13, 2006
A CFR Book. Yale University Press

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Replacing domestic currencies with an international one is the best way for developing countries to create a financially stable environment and integrate into the ever-globalizing world economy, argues international financial consultant Manuel Hinds in a new Council book. Challenging the conventional belief that domestic currencies are both economically viable and financially liberating for the developing world, Hinds calls for the “dollarization”—the adoption of an international currency—of developing countries.

Playing Monopoly with the Devil: Dollarization and Domestic Currencies in Developing Countries is based in part on Hinds’s work guiding El Salvador through a successful dollarization process. Hinds uses empirical data and the allegory of a mythical ruler of a country convinced by the devil to create a local currency to illustrate how domestic currencies have failed to produce the benefits economists have long predicted. Instead, Hinds argues, domestic currencies make countries less competitive and more dependent on international lending institutions; can “increase the financial risks of a country;” and have contributed to recent financial crises and political upheaval.

Arguing that monetary sovereignty should reside in a country’s “ability to determine autonomously [its] economic policy” rather than the “nationality of the people portrayed in the currency,” Playing Monopoly with the Devil calls for an alternative practice to combat the outdated theories plaguing the developing world’s financial systems.

Advance Praise for Playing Monopoly with the Devil:

“Dollarization as a policy idea is much more discussed than tested. Manuel Hinds has helped put it to the test in El Salvador with some impressive results. This book makes a powerful argument: It should be read by all who wish to act or opine on the critical question of whether one country, one currency is right for the twenty-first century.”

Lawrence Summers, former Secretary of the Treasury of the United States and President of Harvard University

“In this remarkably lucid and fun book, Manuel Hinds explodes any remaining myths about the need for most countries to maintain their own currencies. For a watertight explanation of how and why dollarization makes eminent sense, one couldn’t do better than read this book.”

—Robert Litan, Vice President for Research and Policy at the Kauffman Foundation, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and coauthor of Financial Statecraft   

Manuel Hinds is a consultant to international institutions and governments on issues related to the financial system. He first proposed dollarization when he was minister of finance of El Salvador in 1994—99 and then he served as chief adviser to the president of El Salvador on the dollarization of the country in 2000—2001. He was also the Whitney H. Shepardson fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations from 2004—2005.

Playing Monopoly with the Devilis a Council on Foreign Relations’ book and was written for a Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies research project.

ORDERING INFORMATION:

Published by Yale University Press, 288 pages, $50.00
ISBN 0-30011-330-7

Contact: CFR Communications, 212-434-9679 or communications@cfr.org

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