International financial and economic crises since the 1970s have often led to calls for another ‘Bretton Woods’ Conference to create a global institutional framework that would prevent similar systemic failures in future. 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 world has changed almost beyond recognition since that famous Conference at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire in July 1944. These changes mean that, for reasons explored briefly in this chapter, 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.
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