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Cover Global Political Economy

8. The Evolution of the International Monetary and Financial System  

Eric Helleiner and Melsen Babe

This chapter explores the international monetary and financial system, which plays a central role in the global political economy (GPE). Since the late nineteenth century, the nature of this system has undergone several pivotal transformations in response to changing political and economic conditions at both domestic and international levels. The first was the collapse of the integrated pre-1914 international monetary and financial regime during the interwar years. The second transformation took place after the Second World War, when the Bretton Woods order was put in place. Since the early 1970s, various features of the Bretton Woods order have unravelled with the globalization of finance, the collapse of the gold exchange standard, and the breakdown of the adjustable peg exchange rate regime. These changes have important political consequences for the key issue of who gets what, when, and how in the GPE.


Cover Global Political Economy

5. Finance  

Lena Rethel

This chapter focuses on the Global Political Economy (GPE) of finance. It begins by exploring the key pillars of the GPE of finance, starting with money, currencies, and the international monetary system, before examining the dynamics of credit and debt. While money is ubiquitous, its usages are characterized by great variety and so are the practices—economic, political, and cultural—to which money gives rise. The chapter then looks at both public and private mechanisms which were established to govern global finance. Recurring financial crises are a key feature of the Global Political Economy. These crises can be triggered in different segments of the global financial system, including currency and debt markets, and can result from shocks outside the financial economy such as the Covid-19 pandemic. The chapter also considers different ideas that may shape the international organization of credit, such as Islamic finance.


Cover Origins and Evolution of the European Union

7. Under the Shadow of Stagflation  

European Integration in the 1970s

Richard T. Griffiths

This chapter examines European integration during the 1970s. The 1970s is often portrayed as a dismal decade in the history of European integration, when the European Community (EC) experienced severe turbulence as it digested Britain's accession and was buffeted by the global economic downturn. Stagflation and Eurosclerosis — sluggish economic growth combined with institutional immobility — ensued. At the same time, however, the Community developed in important ways. The European Court of Justice generated an impressive body of case law, and the EC coped with the challenges of enlargement, the break-up of the international monetary system, and the consequences of slower economic growth. The chapter rejects the notion that the 1970s was a dismal decade in the history of European integration and describes it as a transitional period between the launch of the Community in the 1960s and the acceleration of European integration in the 1980s.