Lessons learned from the Nixon 'dollar shock' and the Smithsonian Agreement

Providing fresh perspectives on the geopolitical as well as economic and financial history of the Smithsonian Agreement as a foundation for reconsidering today’s challenges to the international monetary system.

Research event Invitation only
10 December 2021 — 2:00PM TO 4:15PM

Almost 50 years ago in December 1971, the richest countries in the world signed the Smithsonian Agreement designed to preserve the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates and resolve the tensions brought to a head by the Nixon “dollar shock” a few months earlier.

The agreement’s subsequent failure marked a critical milestone in the development of the system we know today and holds a number of critical lessons for its future development.

Read an expert comment on what policymakers can learn from Nixon’s ‘dollar shock’.

Conference series on the future of the international monetary system

To mark this historic anniversary and to consider the current challenges facing the international monetary system as the world emerges from the global pandemic, the Global Economy and Finance Programme at Chatham House is pleased to be organising a new conference series.

Each session in the series will be held under the Chatham House rule and will comprise presentations from leading international experts and perspectives from a senior policy practitioner, followed by interactive discussion with 25-30 senior participants drawn from academia, think tanks, financial institutions, and the official sector.

Future sessions in the series examine the following themes:

  • Changing perspectives on global capital mobility
  • The future of financial safety nets
  • New Issues Facing the International Monetary System


Catherine Schenk, Associate Fellow, Chatham House; Professor of Economic and Social History, Oxford University

Michael D. Bordo, Board of Governors Professor of Economics; Director, Center for Monetary and Financial History, Rutgers University

Atish Rex Ghosh, Historian, International Monetary Fund

Introduction by: Creon Butler, Director, Global Economy and Finance Programme, Chatham House

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