THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY SYSTEM, 1945-1976: An Insider's View by Robert Solomon


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An authoritative perspective on the complex of currency arrangements and financial institutions established after WW II to facilitate the conduct of business across national boundaries. Essentially an entente, the international monetary system (IMS) exists in part to guarantee the mutual convertibility of US dollars, Mexican pesos, Dutch guilders, Swiss francs, and other currencies. It has three principal management objectives: assuring settlement of accounts among countries that are trading partners; financing payment imbalances by the use of credit or reserves; and providing reserve assets to stimulate import/export activity. Solomon, senior staff economist at the Federal Reserve Board, details how the IMS can work to reconcile the often divergent interests of 100-odd members that find themselves increasingly interdependent in economic and financial terms. Beginning with the 1944 Bretton Woods pact that produced the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, he traces the evolution of the adaptive IMS, in the process reviewing such key matters as two dollar devaluations, the petrodollar muscle of OPEC, the often inconvenient strength displayed by Germany's mark as well as Japan's yen, and the perennial problems of Great Britain's pound. While international monetary affairs are normally perceived as technical if not arcane, Solomon engagingly relates the important events of his chronology to the workaday concerns of consumers, workers, investors, and tourists, in addition to business firms and sovereign governments seeking to cope with inconstant business conditions. All told, a considerable achievement.

Pub Date: Jan. 19th, 1976
Publisher: Harper & Row