The International Monetary System: A Time of Turbulence

By Jacob S. Dreyer; American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research | Go to book overview

What Can We Learn from the Past?

Otmar Emminger


Preliminary Remarks

First of all I have to express my deep gratitude for having been invited to this conference. I must associate myself with what Professor Machlup said at the end of this morning's meeting, that this was one of the best discussions of the exchange rate problems and international monetary problems he has experienced. I must confess if I had heard some years ago all that I heard this morning, I might have conducted a better exchange rate policy.

I am particularly grateful to you, Arthur, for introducing me in such a nice way. You will permit me as a central banker to a central banker, or former central banker to a former central banker, to take your very flattering words with some discount, and I have to take the present high American rediscount rate for that purpose. I remember that you, Arthur, and I were once linked together about three years ago in an article or commentary by a very well known American Nobel Prize winning economist. It must have been in 1977 when he wrote in his column, probably in Newsweek, that Dr. Emminger was pursuing a supertight monetary policy in Germany for which Arthur Burns would have been lynched in the United States. And that was particularly funny because we were at that time really at the height of loosening up our German monetary policy and had already very low interest rates.

I consider my assignment today to talk in a general way about the international monetary system under stress because that is the title of the conference. But of course I thought I would have to say something about my personal experience with this international monetary system because I have had a very long experience in this field. I don't

Otmar Emminger is the former president of the Deutsche Bundesbank. The text of this speech is available as The International Monetary System under Stress: What Can We Learn from the Past? Reprint No. 112 ( Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 1980).

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