Bretton Woods

Essay by dimsim81University, Bachelor'sA-, June 2006

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Whilst the battle was still powering on in World War II, there were activities taking place on an international scale in hopes of rebuilding global capitalism. In July 1944, the United Nations Monetary and Financial conference was held. 730 delegates from the entire 44 allied nations attended the conference which was held at the now well renowned Mount Washington Hotel, Bretton Woods, New Hampshire U.S.A.

With the problems incurred with the previous "beggar thy neighbour" policies still in the minds of those planning what would be known as the "Bretton Woods system", there would be an emphasis on making sure the same problems didn't recur under the new arrangements and implementations of policies.

The Conference considered matters of international money and finance which are important for global peace and prosperity. Those at the Conference agreed on the problems needing attention, the measures which should be taken, and the types of international cooperation or organizations which are required.

The agreements reached on such major and detailed matters are the first of its kind in the history of international economic relations.

After his nomination as president of the conference, Secretary Morgenthau stated that 'what we do here will shape to a significant degree the nature of the world in which we are to live'

Harry Dexter White (left) and John Maynard Keynes (right) at the Bretton Woods Conference


Setting up a system of rules, institutions, and procedures to regulate the international political economy, the planners at Bretton Woods developed such policies as a return to a fixed exchange rate, establishment of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. These organizations became operational in 1946 after an adequate number of countries had endorsed the agreement.