Glossary Term

Beggar-Thy-Neighbor

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Beggar-Thy-Neighbor is a name for a variety of domestic policies that improve a nation’s economic standing at the expense of other countries, including its trading partners. These policies involve reducing a country’s imports, increasing its exports and is achieved through several methods, including imposing tariffs and quotas on trading partners as well as currency devaluation (reducing the value of the national currency to make exports more attractive). The name was initially used to describe the mercantilist practices of the 1700s but later came to refer to the manner that certain countries tried to pull themselves out of the Great Depression. The Bretton Woods Agreement, and indeed the entire global forex market we have today, was a reaction to Beggar-Thy-Neighbor policies.

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