Why the Dollar Is a 98-lb. Weakling

Does a falling greenback mean the end is near for the U.S.? No, but change is coming, and it won't be pretty

Photo illustration by Bruno Vincent / Getty

A cashier at a Bureau de Change counts out American dollars on April 17, 2007 in London.

Spend some time in the hotels, restaurants and even newsstands of Western Europe these days, and as an American you understand pretty quickly that you're poorer than you once were. To be precise, you're 40% poorer--to go by the dollar-euro exchange rate--than you were six years ago.

It's harder to understand why this should be. Currencies rise and fall over time because countries really do get richer and poorer. Dig something valuable up from under the ground, or devise products or services that people value, and your money will be worth more. Let your industries fall behind, or allow inflation to...

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