Bretton Woods Agreement

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Bretton Woods Agreement

An agreement signed by the original United Nations members in 1944 that established the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the post-World War II international monetary system of fixed exchange rates.

Bretton Woods Agreement

An international agreement on monetary and currency policy for the period following World War II. Initially crafted in 1944 while the war was ongoing, it came into effect the following year. Among other things, the Bretton Woods Agreement created the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The latter organization was created to finance post-war reconstruction, while the IMF was intended to stabilize exchanges rates between currencies and to serve as a country's lender of last resort.

A key component of the Bretton Woods Agreement was the requirement that all countries peg their currencies to a certain amount of gold. In practice, most currencies were pegged to the U.S. dollar, which was itself pegged to gold. This helped the IMF accomplish its stated goals to stabilize currencies that had experienced a large amount of wartime inflation. The Agreement worked relatively well until the United States unilaterally depegged from gold in 1971. See also: Keynesian economics, Nixon shock.
References in periodicals archive ?
The five features of the current system that the authors enumerate at the beginning of their paper in fact bear little resemblance to the Bretton Woods system. Certainly, with no mention of pegged exchange rates or gold, their list bears little relation to the system that was agreed upon at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in 1944.
When the United States abandoned the gold standard in 1971, it inadvertently destroyed the Bretton Woods system in seeking to increase its freedom of action in international monetary affairs.
Under the postwar Bretton Woods system, which lasted through the early 1970s, the stability of exchange rates was maintained through countries' commitment to maintain agreed par values, or fixed exchange rates with respect to the U.S.
These propositions are first, whereas the Japanese economy could rely on the Bretton Woods system of fixed currency exchange rates and increased trade volumes among GATT member states before 1971, it subsequently had to deal with the negative consequences of the liberalization of international financial markets and America's objection to continued massive trade deficits with Japan.
(1) The first treats the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates.
The Bretton Woods system finally emerged in July 1944 from the interplay of Keynes's clearing union plan and the American stabilisation scheme prepared by Harry Dexter White.
The IMF and World Bank are part of the Bretton Woods system established in 1944 to devise rules of investment in the postwar era.
REASON does not deal with the era's underlying economic issues: the breakdown of the Bretton Woods system, the internationalization of finance, the maquilas, the connections between American politicians and corporations, to name a few.
Furthermore, although the Cold War constrained the spillover from "low" to "high" policy (e.g., from trade to security issues), the first major crack in the postwar architecture--the end of the Bretton Woods system of exchange rates--was catalyzed by the Nixon administration in the early 1970s, when the Cold War was still alive and well.
Bernstein and the Origins of the Bretton Woods System, Westview Press, Boulder, CO, 1991.
David Wheelock examines how experience with the gold standard led to the willingness of the Federal Reserve Board and the government to adopt the Bretton Woods system in the 1940s and then abandon the Bretton Woods system in the 1970s, and the inflationary bias produced by postdepression monetary policy.
In the broader Bretton Woods system there is already an active re-examination of the entire system taking place, with literally hundreds of think tanks and academic institutions working to evolve from the Bretton Woods system of international economic management.