Edited by Jonathan Michie
Chapter 23: A New ‘Bretton Woods’ System?
Mica Panic ´ ´ Introduction Every international financial and economic crisis since the 1970s has, sooner or later, led to calls for another ‘Bretton Woods’ Conference to create a global institutional framework that would prevent similar systemic failures in future. The present and, by far, the most serious of these crises has been no exception. This immediately raises now, as in the past, three important questions. Are new global economic institutions really necessary? What would be their objectives? And how would they be achieved? The first question is relatively easy to answer. The world has changed almost beyond recognition since that famous Conference at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire in July 1944. The need for the international community to observe certain rules of behaviour, essential if economically interdependent countries are to achieve their domestic policy objectives, has become even greater as a result of the profound changes that have taken place since World War II – many of them as a result of decisions made in 1944. That, in turn, has increased the need for supranational organisations that would promote international harmony of interests and cooperation by acting for the benefit of all their members. These changes mean that, for reasons explored briefly in the next two sections, a new framework of global economic institutions would have to differ, both in its concept and practice, significantly from the one created at Bretton Woods. The spirit of ‘Bretton Woods’ It is impossible even to think of a comprehensive reappraisal of the 1944 initiatives without a...
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