Chapter 12

The Bretton Woods Era (1944–1973)

In This Chapter

arrow Understanding the purpose of the Bretton Woods Conference

arrow Identifying the international monetary system that came out of the conference

arrow Pinpointing what did and didn’t work during the Bretton Woods era

The Bretton Woods era has a unique position among the historical experiences with an international monetary system. One of the reasons that made this era so special was the fact that the Bretton Woods system was much more multilateral than any of the previous international monetary systems. Forty-four countries attended the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944, but the number of countries in the system toward the end of the era was more than double that number. However, the system’s highly multilateral nature wasn’t enough for it to enjoy success: The Bretton Woods era lasted less than 30 years and it wasn’t very successful while it lasted.

This chapter covers the Bretton Woods era from start to finish. It shows the characteristics of the post-WWII international monetary system until the early 1970s. As Chapter 11 indicates, wars, revolutions, and so on, interrupted the metallic standard and WWII was not different in this regard. ...

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