The Bretton Woods System – Background, Design and Reasons for Collapse

Since the beginning of the 19th century, globalization, international trade and free trade between countries became the new economic order and several attempts have been made since then to develop policies and schemes to ensure the stability of the international monetary system. It is safe to say that in truth, the world economy has never been in a state of utopia, but nevertheless, we have never stopped trying to attain such. The Bretton Woods era of 1944 to 1977, one of the few fairly successful schemes the world powers created in trying to achieve economic utopia, though existed for a short period, has been accredited as being one of the most successful international monetary systems, so impressive was the economic stability and growth of the era that there have been ongoing talks for a comeback of the system. Background of the Bretton Woods System At the end of the WorldContinue reading

Exchange Rate Regimes: The Bretton Woods System

Bretton Woods is the name of the town in the state of New Hampshire, USA, where the delegations from over forty five countries met in 1944 to deliberate on proposals for a post-war international monetary system. The two main contending proposals were “the White plan” named after Harry Dexter White of the US Treasury and the “Keynes plan” whose architect was Lord Keynes of the UK. Following the Second World War, policy makers from victorious allied powers, principally the US and UK, took up the task of thoroughly revamping the world monetary system for the non-communist world. The outcome was the so called “Bretton Woods System” and the birth of new supra-national institutions, the International Monetary Fund (the IMF or simply the “Fund”) and the World Bank. Under this system US Dollar was the only currency that was fully convertible to gold; where other countries currencies were not directly convertibleContinue reading

Keynesian Theory and Underdeveloped Countries

Lord John Maynard Keynes wrote the General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money as a solution to the problem of periodic unemployment faced by developed industrial nations of the West during the great depression of the thirties. Keynesian theory singles out deficiency of effective demand as the major cause of unemployment and low level of income in industrial economy operations under a laissez faire system. Deficiency of effective demand is a prominent feature of economies undergoing depression and in order to improve the level of effective demand in an economy. Keynes suggested policy measures like cheap money policy, government’s compensatory investment spending, deficit financing and other fiscal methods. In essence, therefore, Keynesian economics turn out to be economics of depression applicable to developed countries. Its applicability in underdeveloped countries is very limited. To quote Joan Robinson: “ Keynes’s theory has little to say directly, to the underdeveloped countries, forContinue reading