At the close of the Second World War, when industrialized nations faced serious trade and financial imbalances, delegates from forty-four countries met in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in order to reconstruct the international monetary system. Over the next 25 years, with currencies fixed to the American dollar, world trade expanded vigorously, inflation remained moderate, and national income in industrialized countries rose faster than during any other period. In this volume, three generations of scholars and policy makers, some of whom participated in the 1944 conference, consider how the Bretton Woods System contributed to economic stability and rapid growth between 1945 and 1971 and discuss the future of the international monetary system in light of the Bretton Woods experience. Since President Richard M. Nixon ended the Bretton Woods System in 1971, exchange rates have exhibited increasing flexibility. After twenty years of floating rates, however, there is considerable interest in once again limiting exchange rate flexibility. The apparent success of the European Monetary System, a fixed-rate arrangement loosely based on the postwar system, and the prospect of European monetary unification increase interest in a new internationally stable exchange rate. Moreover, some academics and government officials see fixed rates as a way to help Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union cope with pressing economic and political problems. The economists, historians, political scientists, and policy makers who contribute to this volume relate the Bretton Woods System to earlier fixed-rate schemes and consider the political background of the original New Hampshire meeting. Using recenteconomic theory - for example, work on time consistency and credibility - they explore adjustment, liquidity, and transmission under the System; the way it affected developing countries; and the role of the International Monetary Fund in maintaining a stable rate. The authors examine thÜber den Autor:
Michael D. Bordo is professor of economics at Rutgers University. He is the editor of "Money, History, and International Finance" and "A Retrospective on the Classical Gold Standard" (co-edited by Anna J. Schwartz), both published by the University of Chicago Press. Barry Eichengreen is professor of economics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is the author of "Elusive Stability" and "Golden Fetters."
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