In May 1932, US president Herbert Hoover and British prime minister Ramsay MacDonald called for leaders from 65 nations to attend the World Economic Conference, scheduled to occur in the winter of 1933 after the American presidential election. Hoover turned his attention to the instructions he would have to give to the American delegation about the forthcoming conference. Arguments by pundits, critics, and Hoover's advisers fell into at least three mutually exclusive camps. Some wanted the United States to assume world monetary leadership, since the world needed a financial hegemon. Others thought the United States should simply promote better financial cooperation among nations, since the world needed cooperation more than hegemony, and hegemony was costly. The third camp wanted the United States to simply let the markets equilibrate, since even mild "cooperation" might sacrifice national self-interest without much benefit.
The global economic depression presented a dire situation. All the old rules of international monetary stability had been broken. Now, what new rules should Hoover aim to promote?
This case set has been taught successfully in Darden online and in-person classes.