World Institutions for Stability and Expansion

Courtesy Reuters

THERE has been widespread debate in technical journals, and to some extent in the public press, of the international currency proposals put forward by the United States and British Treasuries and by the Canadian Finance Minister. By and large, however, the public generally has displayed relatively little interest in them. This is no doubt in part due to their technical nature; but it is also due to the sound insight of the public that good monetary arrangements, important as they are, cannot and do not insure the achievement of the economic goals that the public wants.

What are those goals? They are stability, and full employment with rising real income standards. We miserably failed to reach them in the two decades between World War I and World War II. In varying degrees in different countries throughout the western world we suffered violent price fluctuations, catastrophic movements in the level of income, prolonged intervals of mass unemployment, and very serious undermining of property values leading in some countries to widespread bankruptcy and in others to a serious deterioration of the middle class. We shall not succeed in establishing a secure political world following this war unless we solve our economic problems. High levels of employment and a high degree of economic stability are basic for the success of all other programs of international relations. They cannot be reached by letting things take their course. A positive program must be undertaken by all the leading countries together.

I believe there will be need in the postwar years for three new international economic institutions, one to take care of monetary stabilization, a second to expand international capital investment, and another for the control of prices of primary products.

The first institution, to provide for the international currency arrangement, though less important than the others, is necessary. A failure to provide satisfactory monetary arrangements could frustrate and defeat the other programs. It would be fatal (as the experience between the two wars abundantly shows) to

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