The Bretton Woods Agreement was a landmark event in the world of economics and finance. It was a set of policies that were put in place to stabilize international exchange rates after the devastation of World War II. The agreement was named after the location of the conference, which took place in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in 1944.
The architects of the Bretton Woods Agreement were John Maynard Keynes, a British economist, and Harry Dexter White, an American economist. Together, they built a system that was designed to promote economic stability and growth throughout the world. At its core, the agreement was built around the concept of fixed exchange rates.
Under the Bretton Woods system, participating countries agreed to keep their exchange rates fixed relative to the U.S. dollar, which was in turn pegged to gold at a fixed price. This meant that the value of each country`s currency was tied to the value of the dollar and, by extension, to gold. The system was designed to prevent countries from engaging in competitive devaluations of their currencies, which had been a major problem in the years leading up to World War II.
However, the architects of the Bretton Woods Agreement also built in a degree of flexibility. While exchange rates were fixed, countries were allowed to adjust their exchange rates if they experienced significant imbalances in their economies. This meant that countries could devalue their currencies if they were experiencing a trade deficit or inflation, for example.
The degree of flexibility built into the Bretton Woods system was limited, however. Countries were allowed to adjust their exchange rates by no more than 10%, which meant that the system was still fairly rigid. This was intentional, as the architects of the system believed that too much flexibility would lead to instability and the kind of competitive devaluations that had caused so much economic chaos in the past.
In conclusion, the architects of the Bretton Woods Agreement built a system that was designed to promote economic stability and growth throughout the world. They recognized the need for fixed exchange rates to prevent competitive devaluations, but also built in a degree of flexibility to allow for adjustments when necessary. This balance between stability and flexibility was a key factor in the success of the Bretton Woods system and ensured that it remained in place for nearly three decades.