Les accords de Bretton Woods

PRINCETON – La proximité du 70ème anniversaire de la Conférence de Bretton Woods qui a créé la Banque mondiale et le Fonds Monétaire International, ainsi que certains anniversaires historiques comme celui du débarquement allié en Normandie, soulignent la grandeur des ambitions de ses organisateurs. En effet, au milieu d'un tumulte considérable, la conférence a tenu à créer un cadre monétaire international stable qui puisse servir de pierre angulaire à un ordre mondial pacifique. Et cela a réussi, au moins pendant un certain temps.

Bretton Woods conserve encore aujourd'hui un fort pouvoir de fascination, avec au moins trois livres récents sur le sujet qui ont obtenu un succès commercial considérable. Qu'est-ce qui rend si fascinant un événement dans lequel un groupe d'hommes ne parle pour l'essentiel que d'argent ?

Il y a bien sûr quelques anecdotes piquantes, comme la danse de la femme de John Maynard Keynes, une ballerine russe, qui a gardé éveillé le secrétaire américain au Trésor. Et l'accusation  d'espionnage pour le compte de l'Union soviétique contre Harry Dexter White, le principal négociateur américain. Mais le véritable drame de la conférence réside dans l'évolution systématique d'une structure institutionnelle qui sous-tend la stabilité et la prospérité d'au moins trois décennies.

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