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World 'learns from upsets' - Johannes Witteveen

8 December 2016

WBWB Update

The world can learn parallels from past and present financial upsets, according to Johannes Witteveen, managing director of the International Monetary Fund during Britain’s 1976 financial crisis, in a presentation at the UK Treasury on the anniversary of the seminal currency disturbance 40 years ago. An album of photographs from the meeting can be viewed here.

A 150-strong audience in London, gathered for the launch of When Britain Went Bust – The 1976 IMF Crisis by Richard Roberts, published by OMFIF Press, was welcomed by Tom Scholar, permanent secretary to the Treasury. The book recounts the intrigues and intricacies of a watershed in British and international economic history. Among the speakers at a panel discussion were Lord (Bernard) Donoughue, former senior policy advisor to Prime Minister James Callaghan and Lord (David) Owen, minister of state at the Foreign Office in 1976 and later foreign secretary.

Roberts said the lessons of 1976 were relevant to today’s sterling fluctuations after the British EU vote. ‘I’m glad that When Britain Went Bust is proving so illuminating for those who were there as well as younger readers,’ said Roberts.

OMFIF Managing Director David Marsh said study of past vicissitudes should be part of policy-makers’ remit in seeking to forestall further crises.

How to buy the book:

When Britain Went Bust - The 1976 IMF Crisis, published by OMFIF Press, is available in print edition through the OMFIF Shop and on the Kindle store.
For further information please see the OMFIF website.

About the Author


Richard Roberts is Professor of Contemporary Financial History at King’s College London. An author of eight previous books on banking history and world finance, he is on the advisory boards of OMFIF and the Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, a trustee of the Barings Archive Trust, and writes a monthly column for GlobalCapital.