The IMF & the Legacy of Bretton Woods

Karina Patricio Ferreira Lima , Mona Ali, Richard Kozul-Wright, Chris Marsh, and Lara Merling in Phenomenal World:

KARINA PATRICIO FERREIRA LIMA: It’s been fifty years since the collapse of Bretton Woods. As the global pandemic, various economic shocks, and a generalized state of financial instability have now converged into a debt crisis, the inadequacy of the international monetary system is on full display.

The aim of this panel is to examine the legal, political, and economic problems that plague multilateral institutions and, in light of that, to consider paths forward. What systemic changes have occurred in the international monetary system since the end of Bretton Woods, and what have been their distributive and developmental consequences?

With its system of fixed exchange rates, Bretton Woods relied on countries’ ability to manage their capital accounts. With Nixon’s unilateral decision to end dollar convertibility to gold, this combination of fixed exchange rates and capital controls gave way to the emergence of the so-called fiduciary dollar. The centrality of the dollar in this new system, combined with capital-account openness and hyper-financialization, has generated great financial instability and exacerbated inequality between the Global North and the Global South.

More here.