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9 April 2009: Lecture 16 on the Bretton Woods System. This lecture covers the Anglo-American negotiations to create the postwar monetary system and the brief history of that system through August 1971.

Local Currency

Caroline passed on a link to a newstory about local currency:


I thought you might enjoy comparing/contrasting local currencies with national and “international” currencies.

The following is the audio for Lecture 15: the Interwar Monetary System. (7 April 2009)

Here’s an interesting article on Keynes’ personal sacrifice during the war. It’s in the New Statesman, for which, incidentally, Keynes wrote actively in the 1930s.


  1. According to Cohen, what are the variables that determine states’ decisions about their relationships to the international monetary system? Which do you think matter most?
  2. How does McNamara explain the European states’ movement towards monetary union?
  3. Why do you think the Euro states sacrificed the benefits of national currencies to adopt the Euro? Why didn’t they just all fix their currencies to a common peg and eliminate capital controls? Why did they go the extra step of adopting a single currency?
  4. Combining Cohen & McNamara, do you think we will see more currency unions in the future? Will we have more currencies or fewer?

  1. According to Kindleberger, what is the role of the distribution of power in the maintenance of the international monetary system? How does Kindleberger’s view of the gold standard compare to the views of Lawrence Broz and Jeff Frieden?
  2. What were the major features of the postwar monetary system?
  3. According to Ikenberry, how do we explain the creation of the Bretton Woods System? How does this explanation compare to the type of explanation given by Charles Kindleberger?
  4. Why do you think Nixon “closed the gold window”? What was the significance of this decision?

The following is the audio for Lec 14: The Gold Standard. (2 April 2009)

The following is the audio for 31 March: International Monetary Exchange in Theory.

3-19Thur-Global Trade Regime Today

This is a previous lecture in podcast form.

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