Problems Perceived in the International Financial System

  • Roy Harrod


I have little doubt that the birth of the two great institutions at Bretton Woods will be recorded in history as a notable landmark in human affairs. The progress towards more orderly international relations on a world scale, and towards having institutions particularly adapted to maintaining such relations, will surely proceed, whatever setbacks we may still have to face on the forward journey. At some future time historians will look back to the state of affairs when the world was divided into a number of independent sovereign states as a curious episode. I hasten to add that I do not believe that mankind will move towards having a world sovereign state that in the least resembles the national sovereign states of today. The national sovereign states have taken many different forms, and within a not very long period we have also had the city states and the feudal system which had quite different characteristics. At present we happen to think in terms of a democratically elected legislature, an executive, and a judiciary. I do not believe that this will ever be duplicated on a world scale. It must be remembered that man is flexible and malleable in his ideas, and that these can be adapted to various kinds of social relations and institutions. What the nature of those will be we have not at present the remotest idea. If we did have, we might adopt them right away! Man is inventive; but his powers of invention take time to evolve.


Sovereign State Commercial Policy World Scale International Financial System World Reserve 
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© University of Toronto Press 1972

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  • Roy Harrod

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