Contemporary history of Europe

Robert Triffin, a 'personal equation'

Robert Triffin (1911-1993), a Belgian-born economist who spent much of his career in America, had a major influence on 20th-century economic thinking. He is particularly known for his monetary approach. His intellectual legacy revolves ariund the 'Triffin dilemma' or 'Triffin paradox'. Triffin accurately predicted the end of the Bretton Woods system, though not for the right reasons. Triffin stuck by his monetary theory that it was much harder to achieve sound international economic management with flexible exchange rates and that best practices were by no means a guarantee of global stability if they were not accompanied by genuine international coordination. Triffin was also a committed European. He was close to Jean Monnet and Pierre Werner and worked alongside them from the early 1960's onwards in favour of European monetary integration.