The Economic North–South Divide

The Economic North–South Divide

Six Decades of Unequal Development

Kunibert Raffer and H. W. Singer

The Economic North–South Divide explores the structural roots of the debt crisis and considers the impact of debt management on North–South economic relations, exposing certain double standards that tilt global markets further against the South. Encouraged by recent successful opposition to neoliberalism, the authors finally propose ideas for a world where people seem to matter.

Chapter 1: Six Decades of Economic and Social Development Policies

Kunibert Raffer and H. W. Singer

Subjects: development studies, development economics, economics and finance, development economics


THE SYSTEM ORIGINALLY ENVISAGED AT BRETTON WOODS AND SAN FRANCISCO It is customary to date the origin of the Bretton Woods system back to 1942 when Keynes, and his associates in London, prepared the three famous memoranda on the International Clearing Union, on commodity buffer stocks and on a Fund for Relief and Reconstruction. To these three memoranda we may add the Beveridge Report which appeared in the same year, 1942. Keynes had taken a great interest in the Beveridge Report and this model of a national social welfare state was readily capable of international extension and application. However, in this historical perspective we may well go a little further back. The Great Depression of the 1930s had shown that in the absence of multilateral agreements and multilateral institutions the economic system was in danger of degenerating into beggar-my-neighbour policies leading to general immiserization. The World Economic Conference of 1931 had been a first attempt to create an international economic order to prevent this from continuing. Although this attempt ended in failure the ideas then brought forward had continued to reverberate in Keynes’s mind. His vision underlying the 1942 documents was governed by the overarching principle of ‘never again!’ - never again back to the conditions of the 1930s which were seen as having brought about not only mass misery and mass unemployment but also Hitlerism and war. Also never again a failure like that of the 1931 World Economic Conference. We may then move forward to 1940. Hitler...

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