The public commentary on the International Monetary Fund's search for a new managing director to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn consistently stressed the need for a non-European to be selected in order to relegitimize the IMF. Now that French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde has been named to the job, one could understandably expect the fund to slide into irrelevance. Whether this is the case, however, depends less on the actual selection process and more on how Lagarde handles the day-to-day operations of the fund once she takes over. Maintaining some continuity with the fund's Strauss-Kahn era, while breaking with it on Greece, may hold the key to boosting the IMF's legitimacy.
The case for pessimism is based on the idea that the BRICS countries -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- will disengage from the IMF, having seen their hopes for a non-European managing director dashed. Nothing could be further from the truth. Brazil, Russia, India and China contributed a combined $80 billion dollars to the fund's coffers in 2009 and have a vested interest in ensuring its pre-eminence. Though the BRICS countries do not need the fund to lend to them, they do need a strong IMF that will both smooth out economic crises and ensure reforms in the developed world. Disengagement would reduce their voice in the fund's operations, jeopardizing both their markets and their investments. ...
To read the rest, sign up to try World Politics Review
- TWO WEEKS FREE.
- Cancel any time.
- After two weeks, just $9 monthly or $59/year.
Request a free trial for your office or school. Everyone at a given site can get access through our institutional subscriptions.
- Amid Mixed Signals From Hollande, France and Germany Drift Apart
- Strategic Horizons: Endgame Scenarios for the Syrian Conflict
- For Europe in Afghanistan, Long-term Commitment Despite Lack of Interests
- Diplomatic Fallout: The Next Phase of U.N. Engagement in Somalia
- U.S. Delay on Anti-Nuclear Terror Measures Hinders Global Efforts