By John F Chown

EMU may be trumpeted because the nice fiscal test in financial union, yet as John Chown indicates during this outstanding booklet, there were many different examples of economic unions through the years - a few winning, others no longer so. during this complete historic assessment, the writer writes approximately financial unions with an admirable completeness and covers such subject matters as: the greatest, financial unions in international locations and components from Latin the United States to The British Empire to Japan and Korea with many in among, the EMU and its coverage ramifications and the CFA Franc quarter within the former French colonies.

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He never conquered the six kingdoms which were eventully to be united in 973 to form England, but they adopted the system voluntarily. Indeed, Offa of Mercia (757–96) may have introduced the ‘penny’ into England, copied by neighbouring kingdoms, even before Charlemange or his father Pepin. Æthelstan, king of Wessex 924–39, introduced the first law (‘Statute of Greatley’) standardising the production of coins,1 and as he styled himself ‘King of all Britons’ may have attempted to achieve monetary union.

Peace-time exchange controls were first introduced in the 1930s in Germany, Austria and Hungary, but inevitably spread more widely on the 1939 the outbreak of war, and persisted for a surprisingly long time after its end. They are relevant to our story mainly because the controls, by preventing the free movement of funds across borders, hindered the adjustment process so that exchange rates could remain out of line with market realities for a long time. In the absence of controls, Bretton Woods would have undoubtedly broken down much earlier that it did.

Money illusion’ still persisted in his day, but after the postwar inflations the ‘pound in your pocket’ argument became unconvincing. Exchange controls imposed where the real equilibrium price is (because of differential inflation or other factors) already below the official parity. This is an alternative to devaluation, and a theoretically possible Exchange control 5 29 response to asymmetric shocks within a quasi monetary union or other system of fixed exchange rates. His fifth type is exchange control which is ‘perverted to a weapon of commercial policy’, deliberately favouring particular industries or activities (in his day often rearmament) and degenerating into ‘shameless partisanship regarding particular vested interests at home’.

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