Bretton Woods Conference:
In 1944 the major world powers met at the Bretton Woods Conference in New Hampshire in the United States to organize an international monetary system that would alleviate many of the foreign-exchange problems created by World War II. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was established at the conference primarily to promote currency stabilization, thereby facilitating the growth of world trade. The participating nations (including the United States, Britain, France, Canada, the Soviet Union, and many smaller states) agreed to tie the values of major world currencies to the value of the U.S. dollar, which was determined by the amount of gold the dollar could buy. An agreement was also reached to set upper and lower limits within which exchange-rate fluctuations were permitted in response to market conditions.

Microsoft© Encarta© Encyclopedia 2001. ©1993-2000 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

International Monetary Fund (IMF):
An international economic organization whose purpose is to promote international monetary cooperation and facilitate the expansion of international trade. The IMF operates as a United Nations specialized agency and is a permanent forum for consideration of issues of international payments, in which member nations are encouraged to maintain an orderly pattern of exchange rates and to avoid restrictive exchange practices. The IMF was established, along with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the World Bank), at the UN Monetary and Financial Conference held in 1944 at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. The IMF began operations in 1947.

Microsoft© Encarta© Encyclopedia 2001. ©1993-2000 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


World Bank:
Specialized United Nations agency established at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944. A related institution, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), was created at the same time. The chief objectives of the bank, as stated in the articles of agreement, are "to assist in the reconstruction and development of territories of members by facilitating the investment of capital for productive purposes [and] to promote private foreign investment by means of guarantees or participation in loans [and] to supplement private investment by providing, on suitable conditions, finance for productive purposes out of its own capital..."

See "The World Bank" essay.

Microsoft© Encarta© Encyclopedia 2001. ©1993-2000 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.



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