Ideology and the International Economy: The Decline and Fall by Robert Leeson (auth.)

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Extra resources for Ideology and the International Economy: The Decline and Fall of Bretton Woods

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1964, 9, 14, 20, 97, 104, 106). This consensus was in sharp contrast to the plethora of proposals that had surfaced just immediately before. Between the first and second editions (May 1962–October 1963) of Machlup’s Plans for the Reform of the International Monetary System there had been 37 new ‘pronouncements’ about how to patch up the Bretton Woods system: ‘spawned at an extraordinary rate’ (Machlup 1964, preface). These academic exercises were uncoordinated and often contradicted each other.

But several points are revealed by an examination of this episode. 1 At an Executive Board meeting, Southard stated that ‘every country in the world would like to have immunity in par value matters. 2 In their defence of civilisation, the IMF played the role of policemen, prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner. Heretics were examined through a procedure that resembled an Inquisition. Thus in 1954, the Czech representative was grilled and informed that ‘We are a technical organization. ’3 These sentiments were clearly in tune with the methodological chapter of Friedman’s 1953 Essays in Positive Economics; but were also the antithesis of the chapter on flexible exchange rates.

2). His memorandum on ‘Flexible Exchange Rates as a Solution to the German Exchange Crisis’ formed the basis of his 1953 case. He was led to write the memorandum after ‘contemplation of the problem of . . a common market. . In the absence of political unification, the only alternative that will permit a true common market – in fact and all the time, not on paper and from time to time – is flexible exchange rates among the member countries’ (Friedman 1969a, 16). The Early History of the Case for Floating Exchange Rates 45 Friedman had three academic obstacles to overcome.

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