Foreign Exchange in the Postwar World

Foreign Exchange in the Postwar World

Foreign Exchange in the Postwar World

Foreign Exchange in the Postwar World

Excerpt

NOT SINCE THE DAYS before World War I have we lived in the kind of world described by John Maynard Keynes as one in which a British citizen would feel "greatly aggrieved and much surprised" if he could not "despatch his servant to the neighboring office of a bank for such supply of the precious metals as might seem convenient and could then proceed abroad" by "cheap and comfortable means of transit to any country or climate without passport or other formality."

Among the nations of that world, with few exceptions, there was freedom of travel for foreigners as well as for their own citizens. Goods could move without hindrance across national boundaries, subject only to straightforward and generally modest import duties. With the gold standard functioning efficiently and the pound sterling available as a sort of international currency, it was as easy to pay for foreign travel and foreign goods as for domestic purchases. In that distant world foreign exchange practices were of concern only to the technicians, and "foreign exchange policies," except for the well-nigh universal acceptance of the gold standard, were almost nonexistent.

Today the movement of both people and goods from one country to another is hedged about with a multitude of obstacles and restrictions, and the complexities and difficulties of making payments across national boundaries constitute one of the most perplexing of economic problems. This book represents an attempt to bring together in one volume information on the exchange control systems and international payments arrangements of the countries of the world, heretofore available only in hundreds of articles and public documents. It is not intended as a handbook of foreign exchange practices, however, but rather as an attempt to describe the policies underlying exchange arrangements and to evaluate these policies in terms of economic analysis.

In the discussion of the world's currency problems, this volume makes tentative suggestions for dealing with such questions as disequilibrium and dollar shortage, development of a code of fair exchange practices, sterling convertibility, and the roles of the International Monetary Fund and the European Payments Union. The book makes suggestions as to possible policies of our government in . . .

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