In This Review

The Sterling Area: an American Analysis and the Sterling Area and Britain, the Sterling Area and Europe
The Sterling Area: an American Analysis and the Sterling Area and Britain, the Sterling Area and Europe
By A. R. Conan and F. V. Meyer
G.P.O. and St. Martin's Press and Bowes, 1952, 672192150 pp
Purchase

All three of these books contribute substantially to an understanding of the sterling area and its functions, matters of considerable importance for future policy in a number of countries. The first, an E.C.A. study, is largely a description of the economies of countries in the sterling area and of production and trade in commodities especially important to the area. Nearly 400 tables and 250 colored maps and charts help make this a major reference work, especially for the period 1945-50. Mr. Conan, in much smaller space, describes the working of the sterling area mechanism and analyzes the balances of payments of major members. The result is to challenge a number of widely accepted beliefs, particularly about the balance of payments of the United Kingdom, and to emphasize the shift in the center of gravity of the sterling area toward its overseas members. Mr. Meyer provides a detailed statistical analysis of some of the postwar operations of the sterling area which throws light on a number of issues. This study is rather loosely linked with a study of Britain's relation to a potential European customs union and the European Payments Union and with an introductory essay that touches on a variety of current problems.