by Think of devaluation as the monetary equivalent of the “tragedy of the commons”. In a nutshell, if everyone owns something, it is in each individual’s interest to grab what they can as quickly as possible, which soon depletes the resource.
With currency exchange rates, as with fisheries and sheep pastures, there’s an advantage for those who move first and pain for those who dither. Consider Iceland’s nearly-instantaneous recovery from its epic banking crash:
In European Crisis, Iceland Emerges as an Island of Recovery
VESTMANNAEYJAR, Iceland—Three and a half years after Iceland collapsed in a heap, Dadi Palsson’s fish-processing plant has the air of a surprising economic recovery.Mr. Palsson arrived at 4 a.m. on a recent workday. Twelve tons of cod were coming in. Soon, his workers would bone, slice and pack the fish for loading onto towering container ships headed abroad.In 2008, Iceland was the first casualty of the financial crisis that has since primed the euro zone for another economic disaster: Greece is edging toward a cataclysmic exit from the euro, Spain is racked by a teetering banking system, and German politicians are squabbling over how to hold it all together.But Iceland is growing. Unemployment has eased. Emigration has slowed.Iceland has a significant advantage over stressed euro-zone countries—a currency that could be devalued. That has turned its trade deficit into a surplus and smoothed its recovery.