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Why White, Not Keynes? Inventing the Post-War International Monetary System


  • James M. Boughton


The international monetary system is largely the product of negotiations during World War II between U.S. and U.K. officials, led respectively by Harry Dexter White and John Maynard Keynes. The design of the system, especially the International Monetary Fund, reflects the U.S. plan much more than the British. That outcome resulted not only from the superior economic position of the United States but also from differences between White's and Keynes's views on key issues. Examination of White's economic papers shows that he was more multilateral than Keynes and placed a higher priority on monetary discipline.

Suggested Citation

  • James M. Boughton, 2002. "Why White, Not Keynes? Inventing the Post-War International Monetary System," IMF Working Papers 02/52, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:02/52

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. James M. Boughton, 2001. "The Case against Harry Dexter White: Still Not Proven," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 33(2), pages 219-239, Summer.
    2. Robert P. Flood & Peter Isard, 1989. "Monetary Policy Strategies," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 36(3), pages 612-632, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. James M. Boughton, 2004. "The IMF and the force of History; Ten Events and Ten Ideas that Have Shaped the Institution," IMF Working Papers 04/75, International Monetary Fund.
    2. James M. Boughton, 2006. "American in the Shadows; Harry Dexter White and the Design of the International Monetary Fund," IMF Working Papers 06/6, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Muchlinski, Elke, 2004. "Kontroversen in der internationalen Währungspolitik: Retrospektive zu Keynes-White-Boughton & IMF," Discussion Papers 2004/1, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    4. Heinz Handler, 2008. "From the Bancor to the Euro. And Further on to the Intor?," WIFO Working Papers 317, WIFO.


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