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Three Days at Camp David: How a Secret Meeting in 1971 Transformed the Global Economy

Three Days at Camp David: How a Secret Meeting in 1971 Transformed the Global Economy

by Jeffrey E. Garten
Three Days at Camp David: How a Secret Meeting in 1971 Transformed the Global Economy

Three Days at Camp David: How a Secret Meeting in 1971 Transformed the Global Economy

by Jeffrey E. Garten


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The former dean of the Yale School of Management and Undersecretary of Commerce in the Clinton administration chronicles the 1971 August meeting at Camp David, where President Nixon unilaterally ended the last vestiges of the gold standard—breaking the link between gold and the dollar—transforming the entire global monetary system.

Over the course of three days—from August 13 to 15, 1971—at a secret meeting at Camp David, President Richard Nixon and his brain trust changed the course of history. Before that weekend, all national currencies were valued to the U.S. dollar, which was convertible to gold at a fixed rate. That system, established by the Bretton Woods Agreement at the end of World War II, was the foundation of the international monetary system that helped fuel the greatest expansion of middle-class prosperity the world has ever seen.  

In making his decision, Nixon shocked world leaders, bankers, investors, traders and everyone involved in global finance. Jeffrey E. Garten argues that many of the roots of America’s dramatic retrenchment in world affairs began with that momentous event that was an admission that America could no longer afford to uphold the global monetary system. It opened the way for massive market instability and speculation that has plagued the world economy ever since, but at the same time it made possible the gigantic expansion of trade and investment across borders which created our modern era of once unimaginable progress.

Based on extensive historical research and interviews with several participants at Camp David, and informed by Garten’s own insights from positions in four presidential administrations and on Wall Street, Three Days at Camp David chronicles this critical turning point, analyzes its impact on the American economy and world markets, and explores its ramifications now and for the future. 

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062887689
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/05/2022
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 1,060,778
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Jeffrey E. Garten teaches courses on the global economy at the Yale School of Management, where he was formerly the dean. He has held senior positions in the Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Clinton administrations, and was a managing director of Lehman Brothers and the Blackstone Group on Wall Street. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, BusinessWeek, and the Harvard Business Review, and he is the author of four previous books on global economics and politics.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

I Curtain Up

Chapter l Richard Nixon Ascending 19

Chapter 2 The Economic Crisis 26

Chapter 3 A Run on the Dollar? 33

II The Cast

Chapter 4 Richard M. Nixon 47

Chapter 5 John B. Connally Jr. 63

Chapter 6 Paul A. Volcker Jr. 78

Chapter 7 Arthur F. Burns 94

Chapter 8 George P. Shultz 111

Chapter 9 Peter G. Peterson 119

Chapter 10 Other Players Paul W. McCracken Henry A. Kissi 130

III The Weekend

Chapter 11 The Wolf at the Door 139

Chapter 12 Friday, August 13 166

Chapter 13 Saturday, August 14 194

Chapter 14 Sunday, August 15 213

IV The Finale

Chapter 15 The Aftermath 245

Chapter 16 The Finishing Line 271

Chapter 17 The Long View 297

Chapter 18 The Weekend in Retrospect 312

Author's Note 327

Acknowledgments 331

Key Figures and Positions Held 333

Notes 337

Bibliography 387

Index 425

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