Perry MehrlingJun 2, 2023
Money and Empire
Charles P. Kindleberger and the Dollar System
Cambridge University Press 2022
Charles 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, Money and Empire: Charles P. Kindleberger and the Dollar System (Cambridge UP, 2022) 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.
Perry Mehrling is Professor of International Political Economy at Boston University.
Caleb Zakarin is the Assistant Editor of the New Books Network.