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The Smithsonian International Monetary Negotiations of 1971

From the end of World War II until 1971, exchange rates were fixed under the Bretton Woods system. The system came under increasing stress in the 1960s. In August 1971, President Nixon unilaterally ended Bretton Woods. He ended the dollar's link to gold, allowed the dollar to float, and imposed an import surcharge and a wage-price freeze. A substitute fixed exchange rate system - the Smithsonian system - was negotiated in December 1971. This clip is a news report on the negotiations. Although Bretton Woods lasted a quarter century, the Smithsonian system lasted only 13 months. Thereafter, the world went to varying degrees of flexible exchange rates. (Of somewhat less importance is the question of why reporter Irving R. Levine chose to make his report on this clip from the coat room!)
Length: 01:57

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