Printing dollars in Washington, D.C., November 2014
Gary Cameron / Reuters

The dollar is up, and the pound sterling is down. But only one of these shifts is significant for the world economy. The decline in the value of the pound doesn’t matter much. The United Kingdom no longer has a currency peg to defend, as it did in other times of crisis, such as 1931, 1949, 1967, and 1992. Its floating exchange rate can do what it is designed to do, namely, float. The British government borrows in its own currency, and nearly three-quarters of its debt is held at home. Spiking interest rates are mainly of concern to British homeowners with variable-rate

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