Can Europe learn from the experience of the Bretton Woods institutions? Europe has long had a Bretton Woods fixation, and has repeatedly tried to create Bretton Woods style institutions and frameworks. The 1944 Bretton Woods conference created both an international monetary system with rules, designed to maintain an open trading regime, and an institution to arbitrate and enforce those rules, the International Monetary Fund. The presentation considers a range of coordination problems to which Bretton Woods style institutions might offer a solution. The first three are technical-economic in nature, the final one is concerned with political economy: current account imbalances; debt sustainability; conditionality and ownership; security linkages and leadership. The presentation examines each in turn historically to see how effectively the coordination issue was solved internationally or globally, and what the specifically European problems might be.

Share