‘History,’ it has been said, ‘is lived forward but is written in retrospect. We know the end before we know the beginning and we can never wholly recapture what it was to know the beginning only.’ It is difficult to reconstruct the intellectual, political, and economic setting of the Bretton Woods Conference a quarter of a century later. But it is useful to try. The effort may help explain the international financial system we have inherited from the past — and it may even tell us something about the steps we can take to improve that system today. According to the old cliché, those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it. I doubt that this is any less true in the field of international monetary policy than in other areas.
KeywordsAdjustment Problem Reserve Currency Fluctuate Exchange Rate Economic Setting Political Setting
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