The big news at the G20 was obviously about the IMF, with the Americans pulling out an impressive deal on funding (compare with our predictions…). But the money is not the biggest achivement. The big move was in terms of who will run the IMF in the near future – as I explain my NYT.com column this morning, there is an implicit and almost immediate shift towards emerging markets.
President Obama had just the right tone yesterday. Admittedly, he was helped by the fact that we no longer have anything to be arrogant about, but still the way he reached out to other countries – while also pointing out that they made big mistakes and are currently in trouble – conveyed exactly the right message. The US will do much better if it lets emerging markets and developing countries have a serious and permanent place at the big table.
Among other things, this will fundamentally change the way the IMF operates. As a symbol and for its potential impact on the international economy moving forward, yesterday’s final loss of European control over the IMF really matters.
By Simon Johnson