What Happens When a Country's Currency Takes a Nose-Dive?

Meet economics major Giorlando Ramirez ’20.

September 3, 2020

Major: Economics

Hometown: Palm Bay, Florida, and Dorado, Puerto Rico

Thesis adviser: Prof. Kim Clausing 

Thesis: Measuring the Resiliency of U.S. Foreign Direct Investment to Currency Crises.

What it’s about: How U.S.-based multinational firms that have established or are planning on establishing business or investments in a given country react to a major depreciation of that country’s currency.

What it’s really about: When everyone is panicking, do people with a longer-term outlook have a more measured response?

In high school: I was energetic, passionate, and eager to do anything and everything. I believed everything had a clear- cut path and there was little to no ambiguity in the actions we must take to do things.

Influential Reed class: I loved Hum 110 and Hum 220. They were my first meaningful exposure to Western art, literature, and thought, as well as my first lessons in what it means to critically examine (challenge?) the canon.

Influential book: The Lonely Londoners by Samuel Selvon.

Concept that blew my mind: Neoliberalism. It somehow manages to make its way into many disciplines, and there appears to be a consensus that this ideology has shaped much of the world since the late 20th century. Simultaneously it is so difficult to assign its defining features. I mean, my god.

Cool stuff: I was a senator in the Student Senate, president of the Reed College Investment Club, a Reed Reactor operator, chair of the Student Committee on Academic Policies and Planning, and a House Adviser. I was Feast Czar my sophomore year, a comp bio and econ tutor, and interned at Goldman Sachs.

Challenges I faced: I was woefully unprepared for Reed, academically and socially. I felt like an outsider the second I got here and struggled to find comfort in both dimensions for a long time.

How Reed changed me: I learned how to actually go about thinking, and that rarely do things lend themselves to simple explanations or world views. This gift—the ability to think in a critical and constructive manner—combined with an understanding (or lack thereof) of the complexity of the world, have allowed me to begin to forge the kind of person I hope to be.

Financial aid: Tons! Thank you! I would not be here without the extremely generous financial aid Reed offered me. This financial aid has meant the world to me; it granted me a sense of comfort and stability I didn’t know was possible. Further, it allowed me to participate in conversations where voices like mine are often unheard. During my time at Reed, this empowered me to speak up when necessary, as well as inspired me to take every step possible to ensure others like me are forever a part of this institution.

What’s next: I’m off to Brazil, Cuba, Spain, and Zimbabwe for my Watson Fellowship. While there, I plan to explore the process of currency transitions—specifically, what the reshaping and reforming of a national identity looks like when even the mundane change in your wallet is changing.