Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
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The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

The case for a new Bretton Woods


The case for a new Bretton Woods, Kevin Gallagher and Richard Kozul-Wright, paperback, 163 pages, ISBN 978-1-5095-4654-1, Polity Press, 2022, £9.99. 

Kevin Gallagher is Professor of Global Developmental Policy and Director of the Global Developmental Policy Center at Boston University. Richard Kozul-Wright is Director of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. With such credentials, it is no surprise that they are dedicated supporters of globalisation, albeit, of course, 'reformed'.

They acknowledge that "the current international order does not pass muster, in large part because the economic interests that dominate our hyper-globalized world have rigged the rules of the international economy in favor of the privileged few (both within and across countries), stifling democratic voice in the process …"

But they claim that reform of the Bretton Woods institutions - the IMF, the World Bank - is possible, to produce 'a better international monetary and financial system'.

Global external debt has more than doubled since the 2008 crash. Yet recent trade and investment treaties, and the OECD's codes, have ruled capital controls illegal. The WTO, NAFTA, the EU, etc, are all wedded to free trade and to 'Free Trade Agreements', which even the authors can see are about protecting capital, not about free trade at all.

The authors note that a G20 Eminent Persons Report on Global Financial Governance proposes to "give international financial institutions greater scope to use public resources to incentivize private finance to invest in public goods and the global commons … as part of a wider program to foster open, liquid capital markets that would help investment opportunities." So, the public's taxes are to subsidise private finance to invest!

The authors comment, "pursuing this approach to refashioning the multilateral financial system begs an obvious question [sic]: why, having crashed spectacularly in 2008-9, should this model be the preferred way to deliver … The obvious answer is, it won't deliver. Indeed, a big part of the problem with the current system lies in governments already ceding far too much of a leadership role to private finance …" So, they propose to give private finance even more of a leadership role!

The authors write, "any hope of achieving a just transition to an inclusive and sustainable future will have to confront the global forces that constrain the ambitions of a Green New Deal. The support of an effective multilateral order will be crucial."

So, we all have to wait for the powers-that-be to create a nice beneficent international order, and then, and only then, will we be able to achieve the necessary changes in our own countries. Our distinguished globalists may not realise it, but they are just rehashing the discredited and futile policies of another 'internationalist', a certain Leon Trotsky.

Globalisation has failed to deliver the promised prosperity, so the answer is - more globalisation. This book is, I'm sorry to say, just another boring, conventional, analysis. 

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