Democracy and Dissent

Democracy and Dissent

The Challenge of International Rule Making

Frank Vibert

Frank Vibert expertly examines the fundamental issues involved in attempts to rethink international institutions and their rule making procedures. He analyses the basic problems with the existing system and the main approaches to its reform. The book rejects the idea that there are any simple institutional ‘fixes’ for current problems – such as relying on the G20 to coordinate global rule making and also rejects more ambitious attempts to prescribe new general organizing principles for world governance. It calls instead for specific remedies for specific problems. The author recommends new procedures for all international rule making so that both expert groups and governments are subject to much stronger external checks on what they do.

Chapter 1: ‘How False were our Postulates’

Frank Vibert

Subjects: politics and public policy, international politics, international relations


1 INTRODUCTION At 10.00 a.m. on Sunday December 14, 1941, US Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau phoned Harry Dexter White, his Director, Monetary Research (and effectively his chief international economic advisor) and asked him to prepare a memorandum and plan for setting up an InterAllied Stabilisation Fund. The fund was to be used during the war to give monetary aid to the allies, to provide the basis for post war international monetary stabilisation arrangements and to provide a post war international currency.2 Meanwhile in the UK Treasury, John Maynard Keynes had prepared his first proposal for an ‘international currency union’ in September 1941 and revised it in November. Thus started serious thinking between the two key players about the architecture for post war international financial and monetary arrangements. One week later, on December 22, US Secretary of State Cordell Hull sent a memorandum to President Roosevelt proposing the formation of an Advisory Committee on Post-War Foreign Policy that would work ‘In the inescapably interrelated fields of general security, limitation of armaments, sound international economic relationships, and other phases of international cooperation, the implementation of which is essential to securing world peace and to economic progress’.3 Roosevelt approved the proposal ‘on, or around’ December 28. In his memoirs Hull noted, ‘We were now launched on our post war work with a definite and prominent committee organized with Presidential authority’.4 It was this group that Acheson (1969: 923). US archives. Unless otherwise stated, references to the US archives are to the...

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