From the Exchange Stabilization Fund to the International Monetary Fund
29 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2001 Last revised: 20 Oct 2010
Date Written: January 2001
We highlight the elements of the operation of the U.S. Exchange Stabilization Fund that Harry Dexter White, who directed the Treasury's division of monetary research, transferred to his plan for the operation of the International Monetary Fund. The elements included the principle that all currencies were equivalent and the goal of the international fund, like that of the U.S. fund, was to stabilize exchange rates. The ESF also influenced White's vision for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The IBRD, however, represented a reaction by White against key elements of ESF stabilization loans, which were very short term, paid above market interest rates, and required collateral. Had White carried forward to the IMF the ESF elements pertaining to interest rates and collateral, its operations would have evolved in a markedly different direction from the one that it has taken.
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