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  • Online publication date: December 2014

9 - Adjustment Policies and Special Drawing Rights: Joint Meetings of Officials and Academics

Summary

Introduction

The creation of special drawing rights (SDRs) was designed to solve the liquidity shortage that might delay balance of payments adjustment or provoke financial crises. How SDRs were distributed – to whom, how much and how often – was influenced by the ministers and bank governors of the Group of Ten, a group of mostly European officials from countries that had signed the General Arrangements to Borrow, and their deputies. The deputies of the Group of Ten met separately from the IMF in a series of eighteen conferences called the Joint Meetings of Officials and Academics (1964–77), organized by economists Fritz Machlup, Robert Triffin and William Fellner as an early social interest non-governmental organization (NGO). The conference organizers sought to provide a framework within which to manage issues where international management had become inadequate, and, increasingly, to provide a voice and identity for the European nations who were part of the Group of Ten.

While the Fritz Machlup and Robert Triffin Papers confirm the Bellagio Group's recommendation of a special reserve asset as early as 1964, the group's real work on adjustment and special drawing rights (as it came to be called) was done at the Joint Conferences of Officials and Academics from 1964 to 1977.

As discussed in Chapter 8, the Group of Ten countries had emerged as a powerful sub-group, often pursuing their own versions of projects that the IMF as a whole had in progress.