Bretton Woods

August 15, 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the day President Richard Nixon “closed the gold window,” ending the postwar Bretton Woods international monetary system. It is an appropriate moment to reconsider the internal inconsistencies of the Bretton Woods system. As its contemporary critics understood, Bretton Woods…

A couple months ago, in arguing that “The Fed should give everyone a bank account,” journalist Matt Yglesias cited what he took to be an instructive precedent: “Once upon a time, governments didn’t issue paper currency, and instead banknotes were printed privately by banks. But over time,…