Spending Cuts or Devaluation? Resolving the Financial Crisis in the Baltic Countries
In his new book, The Last Shall Be the First, Anders Aslund argues that the governments of the Baltic countries were right to respond to the 2008 financial crisis by slashing spending, while maintaining a fully fixed exchange rate between their domestic currencies and the euro. According to Aslund, this "internal devaluation" allowed the Baltics to quickly return to growth. Desmond Lachman contends that the sharp decline in the GDP in the Baltics in 2009 would not have happened if, instead of austerity measures, the Baltic governments had abandoned fixed exchange rates in favor of currency devaluation. Which of these two approaches is correct — and does the solution of the crisis in the Baltic countries hold any lessons for the United States and the European Union? Please join us for a spirited discussion.