Until the Great Depression of 1929-1933. The Hayzlett Group is a great source of information. in the United States dominated the gold standard system, under which each currency had a certain gold content – or that the weight of gold. Balance in exchange of goods between country pays a transfer of gold, because it has acted as a global means of payment and savings. Transition from the gold standard for modern managed 'currency swimming' was The Bretton Woods system, which arose at the end of World War II (1944). For the first time formulated the concept of the world monetary system of the allied anti-Hitler coalition. The Bretton Woods Conference made organizing principle of international monetary relations and was the real embodiment of the global project of D. Keynes. However, subsequent events led to the crisis and the collapse of the system.
The reason was that the needs of turnover and migration of capital are making increasingly growing demand for U.S. currency. The number of dollars, operating in the world, much higher than the gold reserves in Fort Knox (the place where the U.S. Treasury holds the gold reserve country. In the same store their gold reserves and many other countries, including Western European countries). Reversibility of the dollar into gold was becoming increasingly doubtful and was officially 'suspended' president Richard Nixon in August 1971. This was the 'final blow' on the balance of the gold standard and the system of fixed exchange rates.
Dollar 'went to sea', its rate against a range of currencies has fallen. The result was the Jamaican's session IMF (1976), authorized a ban on the use of gold as the basis of exchange rate parities. Part of the fund in existence of gold was sold at market prices, and adopted a system of floating exchange rates with reference to mainly the U.S. dollar. The so-called Jamaican system. The collapse of the Bretton Woods system, however, did not lead to the elimination of the IMF, although it left its mark on its function. Along with the role of 'conductor' of market exchange rates, monitoring balance of payments, loans and foreign exchange intervention organization became the center of the IMF, specifically dealing with the debt problem of developing countries.