International Economic Co-Operation and the World Bank by Robert W. Oliver

By Robert W. Oliver

On December 14, 1945, the home of Commons voted 314 to 50 to ratify the Agreements negotiated at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, approximately a 12 months and a part previous. Lord Keynes had back from Washington to guard the Fund and the financial institution, of which he and Harry White have been the relevant authors, in addition to to justify an American mortgage to Britain - following President Harry S. Truman's abrupt postwar choice to terminate all land-lease counsel to its wartime allies, an occasion which precipitated the Conservative MP Robert Boothby, to claim: 'This is our monetary Munich'. this day, fifty years later, nearly the entire governments of the area became contributors, and the capital subscriptions have elevated many fold. yet questions have arisen. probably the Fund and the financial institution could be merged. a few argue that 50 years are adequate, at the least for the financial institution. Others think that, whereas enlargement should still proceed, the emphasis might be redirected towards the relief of poverty in Africa and southern Asia. this is often an account of the ancient occasions of the interwar years and after. it's also a narrative concerning the liberal philosophies of the political economists, basically British and American, who produced of the good overseas associations of our time.

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For these reasons, the Federal Reserve authorities did not act to lower interest rates and encourage an American credit expansion in the early twenties as would have been caUed for under the rules of the gold standard game. On the other hand, Federal Reserve authorities - most notably Governor Benjamin Strong- realized that low interest rates in the United States would be helpful to the external balance of Great Britain. Low interest rates in the United States would make it easier for the Bank of England to attract short-term capita], thus easing the pressure on the pound.

The solution lay in restoring confidence by restoring throughout the world and between nations a correct relationship between gold and other commodities. At the other extreme were those who favored credit expansion at national and international levels. A rise in commodity prices was sought, 61 and, though stable exchange rates were desirable, they should not be allowed to stand in the way of whatever national credit expansion was required to restore prosperity. A general return to the gold standard, it was argued, should either await economic recovery or should take place at currency-gold ratios not inconsistent with the requisite credit expansion.

Thus, Austria was among the first of the European nations whose currencies became stable in international exchange markets, an event frequently cited as one of the major achievements of the League of Nations. Similar League stabilization schemes, though not involving the guarantees of other governments, were employed in Hungary (1924) and elsewhere, and the same approach, not involving the League, was followed in Poland (1927). Altogether, eleven European countries received currency stabilization loans.

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