Introduction: Understanding the International Crisis

  • E. A. Brett


At the end of the Second World War the main concern of American policy was ‘to avoid drifting from the peace table into a period of chaotic competition, monetary disorders, depressions, political disruptions and finally new wars within as well as among nations’.1 To avoid this the Americans could now see that conditions would have to be created after the war which would ensure that ‘the war-torn and impoverished nations’ in the rest of the world would not be driven back into ‘the pre-war pattern of every country for itself, of inevitable depression, of possible widespread economic chaos, with the weaker countries succumbing first under the law of the jungle that characterised international economic practices of the pre-war decade’.2 International co-operation and the guarantee of a return to prosperity for the weak as well as the strong had finally been recognised as an essential precondition for the economic and physical survival of the capitalist world. In the words of Harry Dexter White, the American architect of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (more properly to be known as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), but here the more common usage will be preferred):

A breach must be made and widened in the outmoded and disastrous economic policy of each-country-for-itself-and-the-devil-take-the-weakest.


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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    H. D. White, ‘Preliminary draft proposal for a United Nations Stabilisation Fund’, in J. K. Horsefield, The International Monetary Fund, 1945–1965, Vol. III, Documents (Washington: IMF, 1969) p. 37.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ibid., p. 38.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ibid., p. 40.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    V. I. Lenin, Imperialism (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1970) pp. 178–9.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    G. Haberler, ‘International trade and economic development’, cited in G. M. Meier, Leading issues in economic development, 3rd edn (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976) p. 703.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    M. de Vries, IMF survey. 7 January 1980.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    G. Lukács, History and class consciousness (London: Merlin, 1971) p. 28.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
  9. 9.
    K. Marx, Grundrisse (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973) p. 100.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    K. Marx and F. Engels, The German ideology, ed. C. J. Arthur (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1974) p. 78.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    W. Hager, ‘Germany as an extraordinary trader,’ in W. Kohl and G. Basevi, West Germany: a European and global power (Toronto: Lexington, 1980) p. 15.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ibid., pp. 15–16.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© E. A. Brett 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. A. Brett
    • 1
  1. 1.BrightonUK

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