The Bretton Woods-GATT System After Sixty-Five Years: A Balance Sheet of Success and Failure

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Sixty-five years ago, after a catastrophic world depression and a devastating war, the leaders of the United States and Great Britain achieved a “political miracle, ” creating a liberal international system for cooperation in trade, finance and development. Despite some major shortcomings, the system was capable of adjusting to changing circumstances and made possible the greatest increase in human welfare the world has ever seen. Today, however, a new economic crisis is challenging the system as never before. A new act of economic statesmanship will be required from developed and developing countries if we are to overcome the crisis and resume the postwar march of economic progress.