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Finance & Development, June 1978
Article

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Author(s):
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Published Date:
June 1978
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The New International Economic Order: The North-South Debate

Jagdish N. Bhagwati (editor)

The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA., 1977, xiv + 390 pp., $9.95 (paperback).

Papers prepared at a 1975 workshop at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that sought to examine specific proposals “which could form the concrete content of a reformed world economy.” The wide range of international economic issues, the distinguished panel of international and development economists, and the lively and informed disagreements among them make this book a useful survey of the dominant international economic issues today. The papers are grouped under: (i) resource transfers; (ii) international trade; (iii) world food problems; (iv) technology transfer and diffusion; and (v) a panel discussion of general North-South issues.

Beyond Charity: U.S. Voluntary Aid for a Changing Third World

John G. Sommer

Overseas Development Council, Washington, D.C., U.S.A., 1977, viii + 180 pp., $3.95 (paperback).

This study reveals that U.S. private and voluntary organizations, supported by contributions from the public, have given as much assistance to the poor countries as U.S. bilateral institutions—nearly $1 billion annually. This aid is directed mainly toward the world’s poorest population. These voluntary agencies, primarily concerned in the past with short-term relief activities, have begun to emphasize development assistance. Many such agencies have failed to recognize that the two approaches differ over the long term: the relief approach tends to encourage a dependence on external supplies, but development aid seeks to set in motion a process of independent and self-sustaining growth.

Droit international du développement

Maurice Flory

Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, France, 1977, 336 pp.

The expansion of economic relations between the developed and the developing countries since World War II has been accompanied by a growing body of legal practices. This book reviews, for the layman, the general principles underlying these legal practices and their application.

The Failure of World Monetary Reform, 1971-1974

John Williamson

New York University Press, New York. N.Y., U.S.A., 1977. xiii + 221 pp., $15 (clothbound), $5.95 (paperback).

An account of the efforts by the Committee of Twenty of the IMF to agree upon a reformed international monetary system to replace the par value system which was terminated in 1971. The emphasis throughout the book is analytical and the treatment of the economic issues debated during the negotiations and those embodied in the major reform proposals is scholarly and penetrating. The author attributes the failure of the reform effort to a lack of political will and to technical inadequacies of the main proposals. Both the European and the U.S. officials sought a more symmetrical adjustment mechanism: the United States, between surplus and deficit countries, on the basis of the reserve-indicator proposal; and the Europeans, between reserve and nonreserve currencies, on the basis of asset settlement by all countries. There is also an extended treatment of the role of the SDR as a reserve asset. Williamson favors a system of reference rates—a negotiated structure of exchange rates revised periodically which would be the basis of, but not provide an obligation for, official intervention in exchange markets.

The New International Economic Order: Confrontation or Cooperation between North and South?

Karl P. Sauvant and Hajo Hasenpflug (editors)

Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado, U.S.A., 1977, xviii + 474 pp., $25.

A combination of public statements—especially by several UN agencies—and analytical papers prepared for the volume by specialists from U.S. and European universities on key policy issues being debated in the North-South dialogue.

Composite Reserve Assets in the International Monetary System

Jacob S. Dreyer

JAI Press, Greenwich, Connecticut, U.S.A., 1977, xvi + 191 pp., $21.50.

An academic inquiry into the problems associated with the replacement of gold by an international fiduciary asset. In particular, the author discusses the limitations of one form, the SDR.

Floating Exchange Rates and International Monetary Reform

Thomas D. Willett

American Enterprise Institute Studies in Economic Policy, Washington, DC, U.S.A., 1977, 146 pp. $3.25 (paperback).

This policy-oriented review of the world’s experience since 1973 with floating exchange rates (i) traces the shift among monetary officials away from an earlier preference for fixed rates; (ii) evaluates the performance of floating rates; (iii) indicates, by comparison with the reform efforts up to 1974 of the Committee of 20, that the new flexible monetary system based on managed floating constitutes a substantial improvement over the Bretton Woods regime in coping with liquidity, confidence, and adjustment problems; and (iv) presents arguments in favor of a case-by-case, and not a more formal, approach to multilateral surveillance. In the author’s view, present financial arrangements have been working far better than critics had expected, and managed flexibility provides the soundest foundation for the future evolution of the international monetary system.

Excise Systems: A Global Study of the Selective Taxation of Goods and Services

Sijbren Cnossen

The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A., 1977. ix + 192 pp., $14.

A factual and analytical study of selective taxes on goods and services—that is, excise taxes, perhaps the most widely used source of government revenue. In this authoritative work, it is suggested that excises may be more effective as a source of government revenue and as a tool of economic development or social policies than many other taxes which are comprehensive in design but turn out to be unreliable or inefficient in practice.

Accountancy Systems in Third World Economies

Adolf J. H. Enthoven

North Holland Publishing Company, New York. N.Y., U.S.A., 1977. xii + 359 pp., $32.95.

The book discusses the various aspects of enterprise, government, and national accounting systems and the problems encountered in their implementation in the developing world. It also provides detailed case studies of six African and nine Asian countries, dealing, among other things, with the status of the accounting profession in both the public and private sectors, training programs offered in these sectors, and recent efforts at improving accounting systems.

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