Gold, Dollars, and Power: The Politics of International Monetary Relations, 1958-1971 / Edition 1

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How are we to understand the politics of international monetary relations since the end of World War II? Exploiting recently declassified documents from both the United States and Europe and employing economic analysis and international relations theory, Francis Gavin offers a compelling reassessment of the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates and dollargold convertibility. The conventional wisdom credits enlightened Anglo-American leadership for creating and nurturing Bretton Woods, which promoted cooperation and stability over national interest and the whims of the market. Standard accounts argue that this system played a key role in stabilizing great power politics during the postwar period, especially within the Western Alliance, as rules and institutions promoted interdependence and eliminated self-interested economic competition that policymakers believed had sparked conflict in the past.

Gavin demonstrates that Bretton Woods was in fact a highly politicized system that was prone to crisis and required constant intervention and controls to continue functioning. More important, postwar monetary relations were not a salve to political tensions, as is often contended. International monetary concerns often spilled over into political and security disputes. Furthermore, the politicization of the global payments system ailowed nations to use monetary coercion to achieve political and security ends, causing deep conflicts within the Western Alliance. For the first time, Gavin reveals how these rifts dramatically affected U.S. political and military strategy during a dangerous period of the Cold War. Key issues, including the defense of Western Europe, the political status of Germany, the nuclear question, the shape of European integration, and the Franco-American relationship, were influenced, often negatively, by political pressures created by flawed postwar monetary arrangements. In the process, Gavin challenges the conventional wisdom regarding the nature of U.S. economic, strategic, and diplomatic policy during this crucial period of the Cold War. His book offers a sharp caution to those who argue that a new Bretton Woods-type system is needed today to prevent monetary chaos from under-mining international peace and security.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Policymakers and academics can learn important lessons from Gold, Dollars, and Powerabout the possibilities and limits of international monetary diplomacy in a global economy."
International Journal

Gavin has produced an excellent study of the relationship between international finance and national security policy during the first half of the Cold War. It is the history of political economy at its best.(Randall Bennett Woods, University of Arkansas)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807859001
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 1/26/2004
  • Series: New Cold War History Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Francis J. Gavin is Tom Slick Professor of International Affairs and director of studies for the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas at Austin. He is editor of The New York Times Twentieth Century in Review: The Cold War and coeditor of The Presidential Recordings: John F. Kennedy: The Great Crises, volumes 1-2.

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Table of Contents

Introduction. Gold, Dollars, and Power: Money, Security, and the Politics of the U.S. Balance of Payments, 1958-1971 1
1 Bretton Woods and Postwar International Monetary Relations 17
2 The Costs of Commitment: Eisenhower, Europe, and the American Balance-of-Payments Crisis 33
3 The Gold Battles within the Cold War: Kennedy's International Monetary Policy 59
4 Reform, Restrictions, or Redeployments? The Balance of Payments and the Franco-German Revolt, 1963 89
5 LBJ Takes Over: Battles with de Gaulle and Proposals for Reform, 1964-1966 117
6 Defend Europe or the Dollar? Money and Security, 1964-1967 135
7 The End of Bretton Woods: The Devaluation of Sterling and the 1968 Gold Crisis 165
8 Nixon and the New Era in Global Monetary Relations 187
Conclusion. No Way to Build an Empire 197
App A Analyzing the Numbers: Breaking Down the U.S. Balance of Payments for 1960-1961 203
App. B: Charts and Graphs 209
Notes 215
Bibliography 247
Index 259
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