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James M. Boughton and K. Sarwar Lateef

Abstract

On July 1–22,1944, delegates from 44 nations met at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, to design a framework for future international economic cooperation. Faced with an exceedingly ambitious agenda—to agree on fundamental principles, to design a set of institutions capable of furthering those principles, and to draft the Articles of Agreement to govern those institutions—these delegates managed in just three weeks to realize nearly all of their goals. That “political miracle,” as Richard Gardner calls it (in Chapter 4 of this volume), was all the more remarkable for having been accomplished in the midst of a global war by delegates from countries with broadly diverse experiences and objectives. The design of the Articles was largely the product of the British and U.S. delegations, but many other countries—China, France, and India are prominent examples—put their stamp on the final product. As Jacques Polak—one of several veterans of Bretton Woods who gathered 50 years later in Madrid—noted in a tribute (see Box), for all who were there in 1944 it was one of the most intense experiences, perhaps the defining experience, of their professional lives. And “Bretton Woods” entered the lexicon as a symbol of international economic cooperation and stability.

Abstract

The third and final keynote speaker was Jacques de Larosière, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, former Managing Director of the IMF, and former Governor of the Banque de France. Introducing Mr. de Larosière’s speech on stabilization and reform of the international monetary system was Hans Tietmeyer, President of the Deutsche Bundesbank.

Abstract

The final afternoon began with a session on the role of IMF surveillance and, more specifically, on the functioning of the international monetary system. Two of the featured speakers had served in the late 1980s as deputies to their country’s finance minister for the international economic cooperation and surveillance activities of the Group of Seven: Canada’s Wendy Dobson and Japan’s Toyoo Gyohten. Ms. Dobson subsequently became Professor of Economics at the University of Toronto and authored a book on international economic cooperation for the Institute for International Economics; Mr. Gyohten became Chairman of the Bank of Tokyo and co-authored a book on international cooperation with Paul Volcker. The third speaker, Jacob Frenkel, participated in the work of the Group of Seven in his capacity as Economic Counsellor and Director of Research at the IMF before leaving that post to become Governor of the Bank of Israel. The session was chaired by Maria Schaumayer, Governor of the Austrian National Bank.

Abstract

This session brought together a distinguished panel of senior policymakers from different regions of the world to discuss the lessons that had emerged from the conference for the future work of the Bretton Woods institutions. Kenneth Clarke, the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom, introduced and moderated the discussion. His opening remarks were followed by statements from the four panelists, each of whom played a key role in major economic transformations in his own country: Kwesi Botchwey, the Minister of Finance of Ghana; Moeen Qureshi, who has served both as a Senior Vice President of the World Bank and as Prime Minister of Pakistan; Leszek Balcerowicz, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Poland; and Paul Volcker, former Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve System.