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Episode 553: The Dollar At The Center Of The World

English economist John Maynard Keynes attends the United Nations International Monetary and Financial Conference at the Mount Washington Hotel in New Hampshire.
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English economist John Maynard Keynes attends the United Nations International Monetary and Financial Conference at the Mount Washington Hotel in New Hampshire.

Note: This episode originally ran in 2014.

As World War II was ending, world leaders realized they had a problem. Countries no longer knew how to trade with each other. Their economies were devastated. So representatives from 44 nations gathered in the small town of Bretton Woods, New Hampshire to come up with the solution.

It came down to two different plans put forward by two very different men. One was the most famous economist in the world. A British aristocrat. The other was an American that no one remembers. But it was the American that won the day and put the U.S. dollar right in the middle of world trade.

Today on the show, how the US won. The story involves a carefully laid trap, late night dancing and copious amounts of alcohol.

Music: "Cool Down" and "Je Suis Juste Un Bad Boy." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook.

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Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Zoe Chace explains the mysteries of the global economy for NPR's Planet Money. As a reporter for the team, Chace knows how to find compelling stories in unlikely places, including a lollipop factory in Ohio struggling to stay open, a pasta plant in Italy where everyone calls in sick, and a recording studio in New York mixing Rihanna's next hit.
Robert Smith is a host for NPR's Planet Money where he tells stories about how the global economy is affecting our lives.

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