The Bretton Woods Transcripts

The Bretton Woods Transcripts

by Kurt Schuler, Andrew Rosenberg

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Product Details

BN ID: 2940015510126
Publisher: Center for Financial Stability
Publication date: 10/22/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 34 MB
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About the Author

Kurt Schuler is an economist in the Office of International Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Treasury in Washington, D.C. In his spare time he is Senior Fellow in Financial History of the Center for Financial Stability. He is the editor of the Center’s Historical Financial Statistics, a free online database. He has written many books and essays on monetary theory, policy, and history. Before joining the Treasury he worked as an economic consultant and as a senior economist at the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress. His research during that time on currency boards and dollarization influenced successful monetary reforms in Estonia, Lithuania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, and Ecuador.

Andrew Rosenberg is a research associate of the Center for Financial Stability. He has a B.A. in economics from Washington University in St. Louis.

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The Bretton Woods Transcripts 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Haribo More than 1 year ago
This volume, which contains the transcripts of the American-led portions of the Bretton Woods conference - and hence the germs of the IMF - gives a remarkable insight into the economic hopes and visions of the period and gives a rare view into the minutiae that led to the functions and procedures that would govern the world economy for the next thirty years. As such, it is a welcome addition to anyone studying economic or political history, especially those of us econ buffs who love to peruse the economic history volumes of the Foreign Relations of the US, as well as to anyone who is interested in the personalities of the attendees. Before reading this, I assumed that the Bretton Woods conference was partially a propoganda event and partially an attempt to restore economic stability through avoiding the errors of the past (such as was the case at the 1922 League of Nations meeting), with the only real task being to iron out the differences between White's and Keynes' proposals of the postwar economy. Instead, the volume shows that the attendees had their eyes firmly planted on the future: The conference was one of hope and one of intellectual fervor, and one of debates that exceeded national views, although at points it was clearly mired therein. The volume showed me how this golden-age of international cooperation was forged not simply by the US's victory but by diplomacy and the triumph of economic theory. That, at least, is my overall impression of the book. More importantly, the transcripts show the debates that formed the minutiae of the IMF and the origin of clauses in the Articles of Agreement that seem alien and arcane to us today - scarce currencies, ways of working around the dollar shortage, the role of the executive directors. In this vein, this book is probably best read by those who have quite some experience in the history of the period and the role of the early IMF, although those interested in diplomacy (and those wishing to verify parts of Raymond Mikesell's memoire) will find no little material of interest. The only people who will be disappointed will be the conspiracy theorists - those who thought that the US gave in too much to the Soviets to entice them to join and those who expect the whole was run by a cabal - the details of the discussions and negotiations paint a portrait of cooperation and give-and-take. I have mentioned the personalities of those in attendance, and it is a shame that these transcripts do not give much of a view of Keynes. This is because the IBRD (World Bank) side of the conference was run by the British, and the US resources (which the editors used as their sole source) contain only summaries thereof. I hope that someday someone will locate the transcripts from the British side to give a better view of the birth of the IBRD and insights into Keynes' personality. It would also be interesting to see transcripts of the Savannah meetings - which, by all accounts, were much less a joint effort - to see how different they were. There are a few typos, none critical and the most annoying being that the Czech c with an inverted carat over it (which occurs in a name) showing up as a "?" in Nook. The editors link to several online ancilary materials and promise a forthcoming hard-copy. The latter will be very welcome, especially as it will probably include an index, which would make the current volume much more readable for the non-expert. An economic history buff, I'm