Thesis

American unexceptionalism: Paul Warburg's economic vision and the Aldrich Plan, 1903-1911

Paul Warburg’s contributions to the movement for technocratic central banking reflected a teleological vision of the modern economy that rejected American exceptionalism. He believed that the US could only become a fully civilized country if it created a European –style technocratic central bank. In his vision of modernity, all civilized nations moved along the same teleological-evolutionary line. By virtue of its longer history and greater urbanization, Europe was more modern, making it the model the US had to emulate to sustain progress. The US had a larger economy, but Warburg explained that away by reference to its superior natural resources. In publicly disseminating his vision, he had to contend with the widespread notion of American exceptionalism, which lead him to modify and temper the presentation of his teleological vision in the years from 1907-1910. Thus, American exceptionalism significantly shaped the movement for technocratic central banking.

Thesis (M.A., History)-- California State University, Sacramento, 2014.

Paul Warburg’s contributions to the movement for technocratic central banking reflected a teleological vision of the modern economy that rejected American exceptionalism. He believed that the US could only become a fully civilized country if it created a European –style technocratic central bank. In his vision of modernity, all civilized nations moved along the same teleological-evolutionary line. By virtue of its longer history and greater urbanization, Europe was more modern, making it the model the US had to emulate to sustain progress. The US had a larger economy, but Warburg explained that away by reference to its superior natural resources. In publicly disseminating his vision, he had to contend with the widespread notion of American exceptionalism, which lead him to modify and temper the presentation of his teleological vision in the years from 1907-1910. Thus, American exceptionalism significantly shaped the movement for technocratic central banking.

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