Who Elected the Bankers? Surveillance and Control in the World Economy

In This Review

Who Elected the Bankers? Surveillance and Control in the World Economy

By Louis W. Pauly
Cornell University Press, 1997
176 pp. $25.00
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The core of this book skillfully describes the evolution of international monetary cooperation from the League of Nations in the early 1920s to the International Monetary Fund in the 1990s, stressing the continuities and changes over the past 75 years. The author contends that widespread and relatively free international movements of private capital, implying a reduction in scope for governmental action in both macroeconomic stabilization and in income redistribution, did not just happen. It reflected a series of conscious decisions by governments about what, on balance, would best enhance national economic well-being.

The underlying thesis that market globalization, however brought about, delegitimizes the nation-state is much overdrawn. Most problems of governments these days, in rich and poor countries alike, do not arise from external pressures or events.