Building up a multilateral strategy for the United States: Alvin Hansen, Jacob Viner and the Council on Foreign Relations (1939-1945)
Between 1943 and 1947 a new economic order was founded, which aimed at implementing multilateral trade, international monetary cooperation and economic stability supported by government intervention. This paper describes the contribution provided to this process by a group of American economists working under the auspices of the Council on Foreign Relations and in close connection with the State Department. Since 1939 the Economic and Financial Group led by Jacob Viner and Alvin H. Hansen played an important role in designing strategic choices which concerned American economic interests in the post-war world and in preparing the ground for the establishment of such multilateral agencies as the IMF, the IBRD and the ITO-GATT system. In assessing Viner’s and Hansen’s views and proposals, this paper shows how different and competing approaches to economic theory and policy compromised and converged in supporting this outcome.
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