Sterling-Dollar Diplomacy: Anglo-American Collaboration in the Reconstruction of Multilateral Trade

Sterling-Dollar Diplomacy: Anglo-American Collaboration in the Reconstruction of Multilateral Trade

Sterling-Dollar Diplomacy: Anglo-American Collaboration in the Reconstruction of Multilateral Trade

Sterling-Dollar Diplomacy: Anglo-American Collaboration in the Reconstruction of Multilateral Trade

Excerpt

This, like most books, was inspired by a personal experience of the author. I was an American student in England some six years after the end of the Second World War. It was not a smooth period in Anglo-American relations. There was a good deal of uneasiness in Britain about American economic policies. There were even misgivings about the great effort of Anglo-American collaboration which had created the Bretton Woods organizations, the Anglo-American Financial Agreement, the Charter of the International Trade Organization, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Hitherto I had rather taken for granted the soundness of this effort. But the intensity of the criticism impelled me to undertake a systematic study of the historical record. That study has now, some five years later, resulted in the present volume.

This introductory explanation may serve to warn the reader of what this book is and what it is not. It is not a book of economic theory in which one can find an original discussion of the principles of international trade. Still less is it a statistical analysis of the postwar pattern of international trade and payments. It is rather a book about the making of international economic policy and the shaping of institutions to implement that policy. It places special emphasis on the interaction between official policy and public opinion--particularly, on the difficult problem of explaining complex economic policies to a democratic electorate. Thus it is a hybrid work on the borderline of history, international relations, political science, and even international law. Perhaps it can best be described as 'a study in international economic diplomacy'.

For some time I have wanted to undertake such a study. Here is a field which has been somewhat neglected, partly, I suspect, because of our rather accidental classification of academic disciplines. Economists have only rarely attempted the writing of history; when doing so they have usually confined themselves to the history of 'pure' economic phenomena and avoided consideration of the political forces at work. Professional historians, for similar reasons of specialization, have been reluctant to analyse economic policies and events. Specialists in international relations and international law have also tended to neglect these subjects in their analysis . . .

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