The Monetary Fund: Some Criticisms Examined

Courtesy Reuters

PERHAPS no economic measure has ever received the careful consideration, extensive discussion and painstaking labor that went into the formulation of the proposal for an International Monetary Fund. The preparations for the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference were a model of democracy in action. During the two years that elapsed between the emergence of the proposal in its original form and the final draft drawn up at Bretton Woods, literally hundreds of conferences were held with experts of some thirty nations. Hundreds more took place among American experts -- from the staffs of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Board, the State Department and other agencies of the government -- and among interested groups of businessmen, bankers and labor. Comments pouring in from all over the country were studied with care. The original documents went through more than twenty drafts, several of which were published here and abroad and widely distributed for study. Before the Conference was called, foreign experts had many months to study the proposals and to discuss them with appropriate groups at home.

In June 1944, about sixty representatives of some fifteen major nations met with a score of American experts at Atlantic City, and for two weeks worked to improve the proposals. Finally, in July 1944, representatives of 44 nations met at Bretton Woods. These representatives included finance ministers, officials of Central Banks of most of the countries, Treasury officials who help to shape monetary policy in the major countries and to administer the large stabilization funds of the world, scores of monetary experts, economists, legal authorities, bankers, and almost all of the hundred or so technical representatives of foreign countries who for more than a year had participated with the American experts in consideration of the various drafts.

For three and a half weeks these experts labored 14 to 16 hours a day in committees and subcommittees, going over every provision, studying every suggestion, discussing in greatest detail every point of difference. Each line of each provision was subjected to the

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