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Chapter_02 - Evolution of the International Monetary System...

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Evolution of the International Monetary System Bimetallism: Before 1875 Classical Gold Standard: 1875-1914 Interwar Period: 1915-1944 Bretton Woods System: 1945-1972 The Flexible Exchange Rate Regime: 1973-Present
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Bimetallism: Before 1875 A “double standard” in the sense that both gold and silver were used as money. Some countries were on the gold standard, some on the silver standard, some on both. Both gold and silver were used as international means of payment and the exchange rates among currencies were determined by either their gold or silver contents. Gresham’s Law implied that it would be the least valuable metal that would tend to circulate. “Bad money drives out the good.”
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Classical Gold Standard: 1875-1914 During this period in most major countries: Gold alone was assured of unrestricted coinage There was two-way convertibility between gold and national currencies at a stable ratio. Gold could be freely exported or imported. The exchange rate between two country’s currencies would be determined by their relative gold
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For example, if the dollar is pegged to gold at U.S.$30 = 1 ounce of gold, and the British pound is pegged to gold at £6 = 1 ounce of gold, it must be the case that the exchange rate is determined by the relative gold contents: Classical Gold Standard: 1875-1914 $30 = £6 $5 = £1
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Classical Gold Standard: 1875-1914 Highly stable exchange rates under the classical gold standard provided an environment that was conducive to international trade and investment. Misalignment of exchange rates and international imbalances of payment were automatically corrected by the price-specie-flow mechanism.
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Price-Specie-Flow Mechanism Suppose Great Britain exported more to France than France imported from Great Britain. This cannot persist under a gold standard. Net export of goods from Great Britain to France will be accompanied by a net flow of gold from France to Great Britain. This flow of gold will lead to a lower price level in France and, at the same time, a higher price level in Britain. The resultant change in relative price levels will slow exports from Great Britain and encourage exports from France.
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Classical Gold Standard: 1875- 1914 There are shortcomings: The supply of newly minted gold is so restricted that the growth of world trade and investment can be hampered for the lack of sufficient monetary reserves. Even if the world returned to a gold standard, any national government could abandon the standard.
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The Relationship between Money and Growth Money is needed to facilitate economic transactions. MV=PY →The equation of exchange. Assuming velocity (V) is relatively stable, the quantity of money determines the level of spending. If sufficient monetary instruments are not available, it may restrain the level of economic transactions.
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