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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter December 27, 2010

The New Politics of Global Reserve Reform

Eric Helleiner

This is not the first moment during the last half century when debates about a global reserve asset have assumed a prominent place on the international public policy agenda. Discussions of global reserve reform were extensive in the lead up to the creation of the SDR in 1969 and soon afterwards, and then again during the late 1970s. In these earlier episodes, political interest in global reserve reform was relatively short-lived, responding to temporary instability in the global monetary system. This article argues that political interest this time around is likely to be more long-lasting because it reflects three distinct structural concerns about the existing reserve system simultaneously, each of which is likely to continue to attract political attention in the coming years. These concerns relate to reserve growth, reserve switching and equity issues. The fact that these concerns are not likely to disappear soon does not guarantee that significant global reserve reform will take place, but it should provide advocates with more time to press their case.

Published Online: 2010-12-27

©2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston

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