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…

“Why should we not let people use freely what money they want to use? [They] ought to have the right to decide whether they want to buy or sell for francs, pounds, dollars, D-marks, or ounces of gold. I have no objection to governments issuing money, but…

(This editor's note is cross-posted from the  Spring/Summer 2021 edition of the Cato Journal.) In 1996, Cato held its 14th Annual Monetary Conference, “The Future of Money in the Information Age.”  The proceedings, along with additional essays, appeared in a book with the same title in 1997. …