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But the primary reason for wanting the dollar to become more competitive in the near future is that we may need an increase in exports this year and in 2007 to sustain the economy's current pace of expansion.
But because we in the United States finance our current account deficit by borrowing in our own currency, we can move to a more competitive dollar without the adverse effects that followed currency declines in other countries.
And finally, no matter how good the science gets, there are problems that inevitably depend on judgement, on art, on a feel for financial markets.
An increase in the relative price of products from the low wage manufacturers in Asia and Latin America will also make those products less attractive to American consumers.
Although economists have studied the sensitivity of import and export volumes to changes in the exchange rate, there is still much uncertainty about just how much the dollar must change to bring about any given reduction in our trade deficit.
After all, an overvalued dollar gives us the ability to buy foreign goods at lower prices. And the existing volume of exports brings more yen and euros than they would if the dollar were more competitive.
A second reason why science cannot replace judgement is the behavior of financial markets.
A rise in the level of saving can reduce aggregate activity temporarily but only a sustained high level of saving makes it possible to have the sustained high level of business investment that contributes to the long-run growth of output.
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