IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Money Doctoring after World War II: Arthur I. Bloomfield and the Federal Reserve Missions to South Korea


  • Michele Alacevich
  • Pier Francesco Asso


We explore the foreign economic policy activities of Arthur I. Bloomfield, a prominent economist of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in the 1940s and the 1950s. During the cold war, Bloomfield headed several missions to South East Asia, assisting local authorities in shaping new foreign exchange regimes and banking institutions. Bloomfield's most successful mission concerned the constitution of a new central bank in South Korea, established in June 1950. In line with the Fed's new strategy established by Robert Triffin, head of the Latin American section, Bloomfield moved away from the dogmatic style of Edwin Kemmerer that dominated U.S. overseas missions in the first half of the twentieth century; “Southern” economies, in fact, rather than benefiting from Kemmerer's policies, had been increasingly hit by cyclical instability. According to Triffin and Bloomfield, U.S. overseas missions should loosen constraints on the activity of economic institutions and policy authorities, in order to increase their effectiveness as guarantors of financial stability and promoters of national development. We examine this episode in the light of the U.S. postwar foreign economic relations and the concept of “embedded liberalism.” The Bloomfield missions to South Korea show with great clarity the principal features of the Fed's new foreign strategy and the need to examine the actual advisory activity of Fed economists during the 1940s: they were at the intersection between domestic and international political and economic systems. Ultimately, they played a major role in forging the actual foreign policy of the United States.

Suggested Citation

  • Michele Alacevich & Pier Francesco Asso, 2009. "Money Doctoring after World War II: Arthur I. Bloomfield and the Federal Reserve Missions to South Korea," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 41(2), pages 249-270, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:hop:hopeec:v:41:y:2009:i:2:p:249-270

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    More about this item


    Arthur I. Bloomfield; Federal Reserve;


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hop:hopeec:v:41:y:2009:i:2:p:249-270. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Center for the History of Political Economy Webmaster). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.