This book covers the history of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the first-born among the international economic institutions, from its founding in Basel in 1930 to the end of the Bretton Woods system in 1973. The first chapters explore the foundation of the BIS, its role in the financial crisis of 1931, the London economic conference of 1933, and in following years when central bank cooperation was mostly reduced to technical matters. Considerable attention is devoted to the much criticized activity of the BIS during World War II. The book then deals with the intensive central bank cooperation from the recreation of Europe's multilateral payments in the 1950s and for the support of the Bretton Woods system in the 1960s. The last chapter is devoted to the involvement of central banks in the first timid steps towards European monetary unification and to the eurodollar market.
• An insider's view on multilateral monetary cooperation • Based on primary sources from 10 archives worldwide • A comprehensive history of an important 20th century international economic institution
List of figures and tables; Foreword; Preface; List of acronyms; 1. International payments and central bank cooperation; 2. Gestation and birth; 3. Organisation and first operations; 4. The 1931 crisis and international lending; 5. The end of reparations, the gold standard and the 1933 London conference; 6. An autarkic and divided world; 7. Wartime; 8. Bretton Woods; 9. Reconstructing multilateral payments; 10. Achieving convertibility; 11. The 1960s: patching up the Bretton Woods system; 12. Monetary union and financial stability; Epilogue; Notes; List of archives consulted; Bibliography; Annex A. BIS statutes 1930; Annex B. BIS balance sheet, 1930–2000; Annex C. BIS Board of Directors and Management, 1930–2005; Annex D. Chronology of events, 1929–2005; Annex E. Dramatis personae: biographical sketches; Index.
'I enjoyed very much reading this book. It is based on very extensive archival research. Moreover, Toniolo brings a strong combination of a wide historical erudition and a firm grasp of economic theory to the project. The book is well written and Toniolo usually knows how to convey the key issues in sometimes difficult and arcane financial matters. Moreover, he is very good at situating them in their political context, both internationally and in the domestic politics of the different countries. Also, Toniolo often uses economic theory to structure and bring together the main arguments. His judgement is careful and balanced.' History of Economic Ideas