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Speaker(s): Ed Conway
Chair: Professor Paul Kelly

Recorded on 15 October 2014 at Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building

The idea of world leaders gathering in the midst of economic crisis has become all-too familiar. But the summit at Bretton Woods in 1944 was the only time countries from around the world have agreed to overhaul the structure of the international monetary system. And, what’s more, they were successful – it was the closest to perfection the world’s economy has ever been, and arguably the demise of the Bretton Woods system is behind our present woes.

This was no dry economic conference. The delegates spent half the time at each other’s throats, and the other half drinking in the hotel bar. The Russians nearly capsized the entire project. The French threatened to walk out, repeatedly. John Maynard Keynes had a heart attack. His American counterpart was a KGB spy. But this summit would be instrumental in preventing World War Three.

Drawing on a wealth of unpublished accounts, diaries and oral histories, Ed Conway describes the conference in stunning colour and clarity, bringing to life the characters, events and economics.

Ed Conway (@EdConwaySky) is the Economics Editor of Sky News and author of The Summit: The Biggest Battle of the Second World War - fought behind closed doors. Before joining Sky, he was Economics Editor of The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, where he was also a weekly op-ed columnist. During the early stages of the crisis, he was the first to reveal the Bank of England's plans to create money through quantitative easing, and to warn of the funding gap in the banking system which later led to the collapse of Northern Rock. He won a number of awards. Ed was educated at Pembroke College, Oxford and the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, where he was a Fulbright scholar.

Paul Kelly is Pro-Director for teaching and learning at LSE.

LSE100 is an innovative course that introduces first year undergraduates to the fundamental elements of thinking like a social scientist, by exploring some of the great intellectual debates of our time from the perspectives of different disciplines.

Credits: Tom Sturdy (Audio Post-Production), LSE AV Services (Audio Recording).

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