"Marking down the currency is the least-painful path for the state when it cannot meet its obligations. But as Mr. Noonan pointed out, it's brutal on the population. Devaluation reduces the purchasing power of the nation. Real wages and the real value of nest eggs belonging to ordinary people are cut from one day to the next.
What is worse, Mr. Noonan observed, is that few countries go through a mega-devaluation only once. 'It becomes a habit.'"