Feature

An agenda for the new head of the IMF

The debate over whether the next head of the International Monetary Fund should be a European or not is wildly beside the point, said Jeffrey Sachs in the Financial Times.

Jeffrey SachsFinancial Times

The debate over whether the next head of the International Monetary Fund should be a European or not is wildly beside the point, said Jeffrey Sachs. The real question is whether the IMF will have the courage and foresight to replace the disgraced Dominique Strauss-Kahn with “a genuine economic architect capable of helping to design an entirely new international monetary framework.” The IMF was designed for a Cold War world, in which the U.S. was the undisputed economic leader. That world is gone, replaced by one marked by highly mobile capital, rampant financial corruption, and rising instability. “The IMF is not responsible for this mess, but it has not been effective in fixing it, either.”

The next head of the bank will have to help manage the declining role of the dollar as the sole global currency, and do more to choke off international tax evasion and money laundering. The new IMF boss should start cajoling Middle Eastern despots into using their oil wealth to develop sustainable post-petroleum economies. The job calls for “a leader of supreme integrity, who will help to clean up a financial system that has become increasingly unstable, unfair, and beyond the law.” That’s a tall enough order without obsessing over where he or she comes from.

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