This thought-provoking book is about much more than the 1944 conference that established the architecture of the postwar international monetary system, leading to the establishment of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
U.S. Treasury official Harry Dexter White is best known as one of the leading architects of the Bretton Woods system that shaped the global economy after World War II. But he was also a spy for the Soviet Union, providing secret information and giving advice on economic issues. Why did he do it? Newly uncovered documents show that this champion of postwar global capitalism was actually a passionate believer in the success of the Soviet experiment with socialism.
The authors argue that there are far too many currencies and that the world needs an internationally accepted currency.
Global financial instability has sparked a surge in "monetary nationalism" -- the idea that countries must make and control their own currencies. But globalization and monetary nationalism are a dangerous combination, a cause of financial crises and geopolitical tension. The world needs to abandon unwanted currencies, replacing them with dollars, euros, and multinational currencies as yet unborn.
Peace in the Balkans depends on economic stability and prosperity for all. To overcome the legacies of failed economic reforms and ethnic strife, southeastern Europe needs nothing short of a European "New Deal." Sound money and free trade can take root in the Balkans only if the EU expands the euro and its trade arrangements to the region promptly, with no strings attached. But the EU's current approach, which attaches conditions to membership in its elite clubs, falls far short.
Steil responds to Paul Krugman's "Competitiveness: A Dangerous Obsession."