By A. L. Keith Acheson, John F. Chant, Martin F. J. Prachowny (eds.)
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Additional resources for Bretton Woods Revisited: Evaluations of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
In what major respects does the Bretton Woods compromise need revision today? In answering these questions I would focus on four main points: First, the emphasis on universal organization on both sides of the Atlantic led to the neglect of regional arrangements, a neglect that had to be corrected later, beginning with the Marshall Plan. We are still struggling with the question of how regional arrangements can be accommodated to the universal design. Second, there was an underestimate on both sides of the magnitude of the liquidity problem.
Under the first (unpublished)draft of the White plan, members were obliged 'not to adopt any monetary or banking measure promoting either serious inflation or serious deflation without the consent of a majority of members' votes of the Fund;' The published version omitted this far-reaching (and politically unrealistic) provision, but authorized the Fund to make recommendations for changes in the economic policy of countries going too far toward deficit or surplus. Moreover, recommendations could be reinforced by sanctionsthe denial of the use of Fund resources beyond a certain point for a deficit country, the rationing of the 'scarce currency' in the case of a country in surplus.
But the Fund would lack the wherewithal to honour this entitlement. ' If use of the scarce currency clause is ruled out on ideological grounds and no other arrangement is made, the Fund becomes insolvent. It was to meet this situation that Per Jacobsson devised the General Arrangements to Borrow, which have been used. This has put the Group of Ten into a power position vis-a-vis the Fund- which, however harmonious the practical working may be, is in principle open to criticism. ' This is commonly known as the adjustable peg.