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A main impulse behind the creation of international economic organizations in the postwar years was the received wisdom concerning what had transpired in the 1930s. That era is remembered as one of competitive policies as countries sought to export their unemployment by engineering current account surpluses through devaluation and trade restrictions. One can argue that the real problem was the overvaluation of most national currencies in terms of the basic reserve asset (still gold), but that does not alter the basic reality that the Great Depression and the various decisions to counter it at the national rather than the world level cost the world a substantial proportion of world output.
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