international monetary system
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International monetary system
International Monetary System
international monetary systema system for promoting INTERNATIONAL TRADE and SPECIALIZATION while at the same time ensuring long-run individual BALANCE OF PAYMENTS EQUILIBRIUM. To be effective, an international monetary system must be able to:
- provide a system of EXCHANGE RATES between national currencies;
- provide an ADJUSTMENT MECHANISM capable of removing payments imbalance;
- provide a quantum of INTERNATIONAL RESERVES to finance payments deficits. In addition, because of the structural weaknesses of some countries, particularly DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, financial aid facilitates are required to help resolve problems of indebtedness (see INTERNATIONAL DEBT).
The three functions identified above are highly interrelated, and a crucial role is played by the degree of fixity or flexibility built into the exchange rate mechanism, as Fig. 98 indicates. Thus, if exchange rates are rigidly fixed (see FIXED EXCHANGE RATE SYSTEM), balance of disequilibriums can only be removed by internal price and income adjustments (see BALANCE OF PAYMENTS EQUILIBRIUM), and countries will need to hold large stocks of international reserves to cover deficits while the necessary adjustments are given time to work. By contrast, where exchange rates are free to fluctuate in line with market forces (FLOATING EXCHANGE RATE SYSTEM), continuous external price adjustments will work to remove incipient imbalances before they reach serious proportions, thus reducing countries’ reserve requirements. Various international monetary systems have been tried, including the GOLD STANDARD and, currently, the INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND system. See EUROPEAN MONETARY SYSTEM.