Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

views updated May 18 2018


ORGANIZATION FOR ECONOMIC COOPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT (OECD), head-quartered in Paris, aims to stimulate economic growth. Originally a twenty-nation association, by 2002 the OECD counted among its members Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In addition, the OECD maintains relationships with seventy other countries.

The OECD began its existence on 30 September 1961, when it replaced the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC), originally organized in 1948 to administer the Marshall Plan and the cooperative efforts for European recovery from the economic disaster of World War II. The United States was not a member of OEEC. Its membership in OECD was a major step forward for the United States in economic internationalism.

The stated purpose of OECD is to achieve economic growth in member countries, to contribute to economic expansion, and to increase the expansion of world trade. Broadly speaking, the objective is to foster the free international flow of payments, services, capital, human resources, and scientific developments. Likewise, OECD is concerned with developments in industry and agriculture, the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and environmental problems. The OECD gathers and disseminates information about numerous economic indicators in its member countries, and about the issues that affect those economies.

The late 1990s witnessed the beginnings of an explosion of protest over the free flow of capital and the lack of regulation of global corporations. Though the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund have been at the center of the protests, the OECD has also come under fire for supporting those institutions. Protests met the OECD's proposed Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) in October 1998, forcing the convention on the agreement to close early and prompting several countries to suggest moving the MAI to the bailiwick of the World Trade Organization.


Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. OECD; History, Aims, Structure. Paris: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Information Service, 1971.

Taylor, Annie, and Caroline Thomas, eds. Global Trade and Gobal Social Issues. New York: Routledge, 1999.

Thomas RobsonHay/d. b.

See alsoGeneral Agreement on Tariffs and Trade ; North American Free Trade Agreement ; Trade Agreements ; Trade, Foreign .

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

views updated Jun 27 2018

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) International consultative body set up in 1961 by the major Western trading nations. Its aims are to stimulate economic growth and world trade by raising the standard of living in member countries and by coordinating aid to less developed countries. Its headquarters are in Paris, and it has 26 member nations including all the world's major powers.

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Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

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Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development