By Armand Van Dormael
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Extra info for Bretton Woods: Birth of a Monetary System
Mr. ' Given the largely expanded productive capacity of the United States during the war, and the fact that at some stage in the immediate post-war period we are likely to find ourselves in another acute economic depression', Hawkins expected that large unmarketable surpluses would accumulate, and that export markets would be needed to relieve this situation. Otherwise, pressures from American producers would compel the government to adopt the same policies as Britain. ' The United States might have to resort, rightly or wrongly, unsoundly or not, to other devices, 'such as the granting of loans and blocking of dollar proceeds, export subsidies or other devices for carrying on trade warfare'.
Protection of the home market for the benefit of its producers was an expression of nationalism. It permitted the diversification of a country's economic life, and gave its people an opportunity to develop their resources and talents. It did not infringe upon the rights of other nations, and as such was not aggressive. Preference, on the other hand, was an expression of modern imperialism. In contrast with the policy of protection, it was aggressive. It gave nations who had the political power to impose preferential trade arrangements the economic power to deny competitors equal access to raw materials, markets and investment.
Given the fact that the British government included such professed advocates of imperial preference as Mr Amery and Lord Beaverbrook, 'it might easily happen that British policy, under the influence of Mr. Keynes and others, will be permitted to drift in a direction wholly opposed to ours unless we take pains to make our position clear on every suitable occasion'. 1 0 Secretary Hull thought the matter important, and sent the memorandum to the President. Keynes took the draft with him to London.
Bretton Woods: Birth of a Monetary System by Armand Van Dormael