Il poco amato sistema del dollaro

PALO ALTO – Sin dalla fine della Seconda Guerra Mondiale, il dollaro statunitense è stato utilizzato come valuta per fatturare gran parte delle operazioni commerciali globali, come valuta intermediaria per autorizzare i pagamenti internazionali tra banche, e come principale riserva di valuta estera. Queste disposizioni sono state spesso criticate, ma esiste un’alternativa praticabile?

Il problema dell’Europa del secondo dopoguerra, impantanata nella depressione e nell’inflazione, era dato dal fatto che non aveva a disposizione riserve di valuta straniera, il che implicava costi di opportunità molto elevati nel commercio. Per facilitare le operazioni commerciali senza l’implicazione di un pagamento a seguito di ciascuna transazione, l’Organizzazione per la cooperazione economica europea creò nel 1950 l’Unione europea dei pagamenti. Con il sostegno di una linea di credito denominata in dollari, i 15 stati membri dell’Europa occidentale facenti parte dell’UEP stabilirono il valore esatto del tasso di cambio per poter ancorare il livello dei prezzi interni e rimuovere tutte le restrizioni legate alla valuta sul commercio intra-europeo. Questa mossa costituì il pilastro del programma di ripresa economica europea (il Piano Marshall) di grande successo, attraverso il quale gli Stati Uniti aiutarono a ricostruire le economie europee.

Oggi, la maggior parte delle economie in via di sviluppo, ad eccezione di qualche paese dell’Europa dell’est, continua ad ancorare le disposizioni macroeconomiche nazionali tramite la stabilizzazione dei tassi di cambio rispetto al dollaro, per lo meno ad intermittenza. Nel frattempo, al fine di evitare conflitti sui tassi di cambio, la Riserva Federale statunitense continua a tenersi fuori dai mercati valutari.

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