Robert Triffin (1911–1993) played an important role in the international monetary debates in the postwar period. He was known as one of the main advocates of a multipolar international monetary system. In this paper we analyze the origins of Triffin’s “regional” approach toward international monetary integration. We argue that Triffin’s experience with the European Payments Union (EPU) played hereby a crucial role. Triffin was not only an “architect” of the EPU, but the EPU also led to an important shift in Triffin’s view of the geography of the international monetary system. Before his work on the EPU, Triffin conceived of the international economy as composed of two geographical entities: national economies and the world economy. With his work on the EPU he introduced a third geographical entity: the region.

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