Abstract This paper shall discuss the Gold Standard, the Bretton Woods System and the European Exchange Rate Mechanism with a view to analysing their respective advantages and disadvantages; along with the circumstances surrounding their emergence and failure. Through this lens the author intends to draw comparisons between the current EMU and the Gold Standard and any implications these similarities have Introduction A prerequisite to any discussion on this topic is an understanding of certain classical and neo-classical analytical frameworks. Therefore section one will briefly present and explain the logic of Hume's Mechanism and the 'Impossible Trinity.' Section Two outlines a chronological history of various exchange rate mechanisms along with their corresponding successes and failures. Section three draws parallels between the Gold Standard and the European Monetary Union and discusses the consequences of these similarities. Section One: Analytical Frameworks Hume's Mechanism: This theory combines aspects of the purchasing power parity and interest rate parity conditions.
It states that as the monetary base (M) increases domestic prices trend upwards. This induces a nation to import more goods than it exports, creating a current account deficit. This deficit gradually causes gold to leave the system, causing prices to revert back to their original levels- producing a balanced current account.