Economics

Op-Ed

The Myth of Bretton Woods

Author: Benn Steil
Wall Street Journal

Benn Steil's op-ed in the Wall Street Journal debunks the popular notion that the famous 1944 Bretton Woods agreements—establishing the IMF, the World Bank, and a dollar-based fixed exchange-rate system—were important in reviving global trade and growth after World War II. In fact, dependence on bilateral trade and inconvertible currencies was greater in the early postwar years than it was in the 1930s. The Marshall Plan and the creation of the GATT were, he argues, far more powerful instances of effective, enlightened, and enduring internationalism emerging from the war.

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Primary Sources

United States-China Strategic Economic Dialogue

President George W. Bush and President Hu Jintao initiated the U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) in 2006, where leaders from both nations meet twice a year to seek opportunities for bilateral cooperation. From 2009, President Barack Obama continued this series as the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), though on an annual basis and with separate "tracks," the Treasury Department leading the Economic Track and State Department leading the Strategic track. The sessions conclude with a jointly-produced "Fact Sheet" detailing the agreements reached at that round of the SED.

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