Legal Models for the International Regulation of Exchange Rates

No legal scholar has contributed more to the study of the harmonization of national interests by international agreement than Professor Eric Stein. This essay in his honor examines some of the efforts that have been made since the Bretton Woods Conference of July 1944 to bring order into the important international relationships that are called exchange rates. The subject has a further pertinence because of Eric Stein’s work on the European Community. The law of the Community on exchange rates has been affected by the fortunes of the law of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Treaty of Rome relied to a large extent on the legal order established originally by the IMF’s Articles of Agreement, but the Community has attempted to create its own system as the wider order of the IMF has come under the pressure of troublesome economic developments. Here is another aspect of harmonization: the law of the European collectivity must fit into the law of the broader society of nations. Finally, the subject is timely because the behavior of exchange rates is a constant preoccupation of monetary authorities and scholars and provokes them to call for improvements in international monetary arrangements.