The essays, written by leading experts, examine the history of the international financial system in terms of the debate about globalization and its limits. In the nineteenth century, international markets existed without international institutions. A response to the problems of capital flows came in the form of attempts to regulate national capital markets (for instance through the establishment of central banks). In the inter-war years, there were (largely unsuccessful) attempts at designing a genuine international trade and monetary system; and at the same time (coincidentally) the system collapsed. In the post-1945 era, the intended design effort was infinitely more successful. The development of large international capital markets since the 1960s, however, increasingly frustrated attempts at international control. The emphasis has shifted in consequence to debates about increasing the transparency and effectiveness of markets; but these are exactly the issues that already dominated the nineteenth-century discussions.

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