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Casting for an international solution
Can a new Bretton Woods-type summit solve the financial crisis?
T

he financial crisis isn’t close to over, said Sebastian Mallaby in The Washington Post, but Europeans are already trying to “extract lessons from it.” Under pressure, the U.S. agreed to a “new Bretton Woods summit,” after the 1944 meeting that “inoculated the world against a repeat of the Great Depression” and gave us the IMF and World Bank. It won’t work this time. World markets do need restructuring, but "photo-op summits” won’t get us there.

We need to do something, said Chris Osborne in Britain’s The Guardian, and if a viable new framework is possible, “we should attempt to create one.” A new IMF, for example, could work "to protect the system from irrational exuberance” by coordinating tighter bank and insurance regulations and acting as a financial “early warning system.”

We’re forgetting our history, said George Cooper in Britain’s The Telegraph. Bretton Woods I, whose “defining element” was a system of fixed exchange rates, “ended in ignominious failure in 1971,” with the demise of the gold standard. Bretton Woods II, pegging currencies to the U.S. dollar, helped create our current mess. “The last thing we need is a Bretton Woods III.”

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