Journal Article

The International Monetary System: Diffusion and Ambiguity

Benjamin J. Cohen
International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-)
Vol. 84, No. 3, Power and Rules in the Changing Economic Order (May, 2008), pp. 455-470
Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/25144811
Page Count: 16
Were these topics helpful?

Select the topics that are inaccurate.

  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Add to My Lists
  • Cite this Item
The International Monetary System: Diffusion and Ambiguity
Preview not available

Abstract

This article examines the dynamics of power and rule-setting in the international monetary system. It begins with a brief discussion of the meaning of power in international monetary relations, distinguishing between two critical dimensions of monetary power: autonomy and influence. Major developments have led to a greater diffusion of power in monetary affairs, both among states and between states and societal actors. But the diffusion of power has mainly been in the dimension of autonomy, rather than influence, meaning that leadership in the system has been dispersed rather than relocated-a pattern of change in the geopolitics of finance that might be called leaderless diffusion. The pattern of leaderless diffusion, in turn, is generating greater ambiguity in prevailing governance structures. Rule-setting in monetary relations increasingly relies not on negotiations among a few powerful states but, rather, on the evolution of custom and usage among growing numbers of autonomous agents. Impacts on governance structures can be seen on two levels: the individual state and the global system. At the state level, the dispersion of power compels governments to rethink their commitment to national monetary sovereignty. At the systemic level, it compounds the difficulties of bargaining on monetary issues. More and more, formal rules are being superseded by informal norms that emerge, like common law, not from legislation or statutes but from everyday conduct and social convention.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[455]
    [455]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
456
    456
  • Thumbnail: Page 
457
    457
  • Thumbnail: Page 
458
    458
  • Thumbnail: Page 
459
    459
  • Thumbnail: Page 
460
    460
  • Thumbnail: Page 
461
    461
  • Thumbnail: Page 
462
    462
  • Thumbnail: Page 
463
    463
  • Thumbnail: Page 
464
    464
  • Thumbnail: Page 
465
    465
  • Thumbnail: Page 
466
    466
  • Thumbnail: Page 
467
    467
  • Thumbnail: Page 
468
    468
  • Thumbnail: Page 
469
    469
  • Thumbnail: Page 
470
    470