The Sterling Area in the Postwar World: International Mechanism and Cohesion, 1946-1952

The Sterling Area in the Postwar World: International Mechanism and Cohesion, 1946-1952

The Sterling Area in the Postwar World: International Mechanism and Cohesion, 1946-1952

The Sterling Area in the Postwar World: International Mechanism and Cohesion, 1946-1952

Excerpt

It is usually important to state at the outset of a book what is not attempted within the covers as well as what is. This is a study of the internal working during the postwar period of the monetary union which is set apart in United Kingdom exchange control regulations as 'Scheduled Territories' and has been known as the Sterling Area. Only indirect consideration is given to the Area's relations with the outside world, including the Dollar Area; for the purposes of this study such relations are important only as they affect the attractiveness of the Union to its members—the cohesion of the Area. Similarly, while considerable attention is devoted to trade and capital considerations, including matters of commercial policy, they are investigated only as they may be relevant to the present and future working of the monetary union.

Within these limits, which I have found more than sufficient for one person's efforts, I have tried to explore as fully as I could all aspects of the system, with as much emphasis upon overseas member regions as upon the centre. Because the Sterling Area is essentially a monetary union, great stress has been placed upon the monetary mechanisms within individual member regions and how the complex parts fit into a whole. In doing this I have utilized bank-accounting procedures in Part Two which are, I believe, more familiar in the United States than in Sterling Area countries. I have tried to use those procedures as consistently and uniformly as the data permit, and hope that if they appear unfamiliar to some readers at the start they will be able to get used to them quickly and easily.

The study was begun in the Spring of 1950 and completed as a doctoral dissertation for Princeton University in May 1954. It was slightly revised in March 1955 for publication. The usual obstacles have been encountered throughout but none was more crucial than the factor of time. The work remains, essentially, a case study of the tumultuous period 1946-52, and most of the data relate to these years. Part Two, on the adjustment of member regions to balance of payments disturbances, is concerned almost solely with this period, but the only significant development since that time in the adjustment mechanism has been greater emphasis . . .

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