International monetary systems

internationally agreed rules, conventions and supporting institutions that facilitate international trade

International monetary systems are sets of internationally agreed rules, conventions and supporting institutions, that facilitate international trade, cross border investment and generally the reallocation of capital between nation states. They provide means of payment acceptable between buyers and sellers of different nationality, including deferred payment.


  • The international monetary system is the glue that binds national economies together.
  • Most Americans have no real understanding of the operation of the international money lenders. The accounts of the Federal Reserve System have never been audited. It operates outside the control of Congress and through its Board of Governors manipulates the credit of the United States.
  • Your money's value is determined by a global casino of unprecedented proportions: $2 trillion are traded per day in foreign exchange markets, 100 times more than the trading volume of all the stockmarkets of the world combined. Only 2% of these foreign exchange transactions relate to the "real" economy reflecting movements of real goods and services in the world, and 98% are purely speculative. This global casino is triggering the foreign exchange crises which shook Mexico in 1994-5, Asia in 1997 and Russia in 1998. These emergencies are the dislocation symptoms of the old Industrial Age money system.
  • My expertise lies in international finance and money systems. This is why I have adopted here a whole systems approach to money. Whole systems take into account a broader, more comprehensive arena than economics does; it integrates not only economic interactions but also their most important side effects. This includes specifically in our case the effects of different money systems on the quality of human interactions, on society at large, and on ecological systems.
  • The lifeblood of our economy, indeed the whole world's economy, is based on money. Without a currency that can be trusted, the entire structure of economics, the division of labor itself, falls apart. Our wealth, our well being and our very lives are dependent on the continuation of this highly complex structure called the economy and it in turn is dependent on sound money. We have placed our trust for the management of this money on a gang of thieves called the Federal Reserve. They have now clearly demonstrated their inability to restrain themselves from the excesses that can be perpetrated within a paper money system. If we want to survive as a nation, we need to eliminate both the Federal Reserve and paper money.
  • The problem is easy to state: developing countries borrow too much—or are lent too much—and in ways that force them to bear most or all of the risk of subsequent increases in interest rates, fluctuations in the exchange rate, or decreases in income. Given this, it is not surprising that they often cannot repay what is owed.
  • The global financial system is not working well, and it is especially not working well for developing countries. Money is flowing uphill, from the poor to the rich. [...] With nearly two-thirds of reserves being held in dollars, the United States is, in this sense, the major recipient of these benefits. If the interest rate America has to pay is just one percentage point lower than it otherwise would be on these $3 trillion of loans from poor countries, what America received from the developing countries via the global reserve system is more than it gives to the developing countries in aid.
    • idem, §9
  • If we are to grasp the dynamics of this unforecasted storm, we have to move beyond the familiar cognitive frame of macroeconomics that we inherited from the early twentieth century. Forged in the wake of World War I and World War II, the macroeconomic perspective on international economics is organized around nation-states, national productive systems and the trade imbalances they generate. It is a view of the economy that will forever be identified with John Maynard Keynes. Predictably, the onset of the crisis in 2008 evoked memories of the 1930s and triggered calls for a return to “the master.” And Keynesian economics is, indeed, indispensable for grasping the dynamics of collapsing consumption and investment, the surge in unemployment and the options for monetary and fiscal policy after 2009. But when it comes to analyzing the onset of financial crises in an age of deep globalization, the standard macroeconomic approach has its limits. In discussions of international trade it is now commonly accepted that it is no longer national economies that matter. What drives global trade are not the relationships between national economies but multinational corporations coordinating far-flung “value chains.” The same is true for the global business of money. To understand the tensions within the global financial system that exploded in 2008 we have to move beyond Keynesian macroeconomics and its familiar apparatus of national economic statistics. As Hyun Song Shin, chief economist at the Bank for International Settlements and one of the foremost thinkers of the new breed of “macrofinance,” has put it, we need to analyze the global economy not in terms of an “island model” of international economic interaction—national economy to national economy—but through the “interlocking matrix” of corporate balance sheets—bank to bank. As both the global financial crisis of 2007–2009 and the crisis in the eurozone after 2010 would demonstrate, government deficits and current account imbalances are poor predictors of the force and speed with which modern financial crises can strike. This can be grasped only if we focus on the shocking adjustments that can take place within this interlocking matrix of financial accounts. For all the pressure that classic “macroeconomic imbalances”—in budgets and trade—can exert, a modern global bank run moves far more money far more abruptly.
    • Adam Tooze Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World (2018)