Will Bretton Woods Happen Again? Rory O’Riordan

Eric Helleiner wrote a piece in which he compares the current economic concerns following the 2007-08 financial crisis to that of the Bretton Woods area following the rough 1930s and post-World War II. His main argument is opposing those whom think a new, or second, “Bretton Woods moment” is necessary to get the global economy back on track following the recession. He argues that these believers are disillusioned, due to the fact that the Bretton Woods occurrence was a unique event. Though I understand his argument and see his logic in the elements that he describes for how the Bretton Woods moment happened, I do however disagree with some of his points. For instance, he argues that the second phenomenon won’t happen due to the lack of an event like World War II. Though I do agree that World War II was an important and decisive element, I disagree in how he says there is no element of that now. Today’s military conflicts are not so much as state on state action, but increased terrorism and the current the Ukraine conflict are contributing factors to the world’s military conflicts. The Talley article states that a $17 billion support package was sent to Ukraine showing importance of battle there. Also, with all of the conflict in the Middle East, there is very much a presence of military stressors on the international economy.

A key aspect that Helleiner makes, which I think was a key point for reason that a second Bretton Woods will not happen is because the United States is not as dominant as is it was in the 1930s and ‘40s. I think this point is valid in the sense that international power is now divided out amongst many states such China, Japan and the United Kingdom. However the concerning fact, that connects to the Abadia article is that even though power is being divided, none of it is falling to the developing countries. In that article, it highlights how developing nations need a stronger voice in the IMF. It also reflects the views of how some feel that sending money to developing countries is far more effective and will improve the efficiency of the IMF. In all three readings however, it is clear the IMF is not at the top of its game. There are many critics who believe that big change is needed in order to better help the international economy.


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