By Kiyoshi Hirowatari
This e-book offers a different standpoint at the decline of sterling and Britain's responsive financial policy-making within the 1960's and '70s.
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Additional info for Britain and European Monetary Cooperation, 1964–1979
Most crucially, his embrace of European monetary cooperation was interwoven with his pessimistic assessment of a ﬂoating rate regime. His pessimism furthermore had a geopolitical tinge. 74 What he most feared was that if the United States was forced to ﬂoat the dollar, the EEC member countries would divide in terms of their response to the surplus dollars. 78 Trifﬁn suspected that if the Community was absorbed into a dollar area, it would threaten to undermine its monetary sovereignty. Monnet agreed.
While the Eurocurrency markets, linked to the forward market, presented Britain with the problems Introduction 17 of implementing territorialised capital controls, its anticipated entry into the Common Market would not allow Britain to resort to that ‘ring fence’. Central bank cooperation did not extend to the long-term resolution of the sterling balances problem. Events in the late 1960s, furthermore, made Britain aware of a less obvious though no less important change in the mood of the United States – the gradual erosion of sterling–dollar diplomacy hitched to Britain’s monetary sovereignty.
A ﬂoating exchange rate regime, it was optimistically expected, would afford autonomy over the pursuit of domestic economic stability. Britain, however, could not predispose itself in favour of the automatic adjustment mechanism led by a world of ﬂoating rates. Britain ﬁrst addressed exchange rate stability in a transition to a ﬂoating exchange rate system. This was in line with the mood within Europe, which aspired to a regional Bretton Woods of ﬁxed but adjustable pegs – European monetary cooperation.