The Global Role of the Dollar

INET Grantee & Academic Advisor Perry Mehrling talks about his new book “Money and Empire: Charles P. Kindleberger and the Dollar System”


About the Book

Kindleberger ranks as one of the twentieth century’s best known and most influential international economists. This book traces the evolution of his thinking in the context of a ‘key-currency’ approach to the rise of the dollar system, here revealed as the indispensable framework for global economic development since World War II. Unlike most of his colleagues, Kindleberger was deeply interested in history, and his economics brimmed with real people and institutional details. His research at the New York Fed and BIS during the Great Depression, his wartime intelligence work, and his role in administering the Marshall Plan gave him deep insight into how the international financial system really operated. A biography of both the dollar and a man, this book is also the story of the development of ideas about how money works. It throws revealing light on the underlying economic forces and political obstacles shaping our globalized world.

  • Provides a history of international finance as a set of evolving institutions and evolving theories about how the system works
  • Provides a practitioner’s eye view of central banking (1936–1942), war and reconstruction (1942–1948), contrasting with the more common top-down history
  • Provides a key-currency account of the rise of the dollar system, contrasting with the more common myth of multilateralism at Bretton Wood

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Money and Empire