Eichengreen's analysis is very thorough. He provides a very rich explanation for the reasons why countries moved from bimetallism to the gold standard, and from fixed exchange rates to floating exchange rates. The book covers very heavy, and sometimes dry, subjects but is overall very useful for understanding a globalized world and the effects of globalization on capital. I highly recommend this book as an introductory book for understanding international political economy.
A dilemma rests at the heart of the international monetary system. A stable and predictable international currency regime is a necessary catalyst to international trade. So too is capital mobility, allowing the efficient allocation of foreign investment and spurring global economic growth. The rub is that high capital mobility tends to undermine stable, predictable currency exchange rates.
Is it possible to have a stable exchange rate regime and high capital mobility, combining to promote international trade and global economic growth, the proverbial rising-tide-that-lifts-all-boats? "Yes," says distinguished economist Barry Eichengreen in "Globalizing Capital: A History of the International Monetary System." Paradoxically, the one modern period that witnessed precisely such a mutually reinforcing regime was the gold standard era (1870-1913), a system shunned today as archaic, if not asinine.
The gold standard was an "accident of history" according to the...
I read this for a grad class in international finance and it was surprisingly readable after the first few chapters. A very good history of the last 150 years or so of global trade.
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