Recent events in the US--high unemployment, record federal deficits, and unprecedented financial distress--have raised serious doubts about the future of the dollar. So profound has been the impact that some say the dollar may soon cease to be the world's standard currency. Is the situation that bad? In Exorbitant Privilege, one of our foremost experts on the international financial system argues that while the dollar is bound to lose its singular status to newcomers like the Euro and the Chinese Renminbi, the coming changes will be neither sudden nor dire. Barry Eichengreen puts today's crisis in historical context, revealing that only after World War II, with Europe and Japan in ruins, did the dollar become the world's monetary lingua franca--the reserve currency of the world's banks and the kind of cash accepted virtually everywhere. Now, with the rise of China, India, Brazil and other emerging economies, America no longer towers over the global economy like before. And the U.S. itself faces very serious economic and financial challenges as it contemplates its medium-term future. But despite this, Eichengreen concludes, predictions of the dollar's demise are greatly exaggerated. The paperback edition features a new afterword that takes the story up through 2012.