Perhaps The Most Boring Important Topic In Economics

By Simon Johnson

International economic policy making is a contender for the title of “most boring important topic” in economics.  And within the field there is nothing quite as dull as the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  Try getting an article about the Fund on the front page of any newspaper.

And even for aficionados of the Fund, the issues associated with reforming its “quota” and “voting rights” seem arcane – and are fully understood by few.

Dullness in this context is not an accident – it’s a protective wrapping against political interference, particularly by the US Congress.

Now, however, the IMF needs a change in its ownership structure, and the sole remaining holdup is Congress.

The Obama administration let this issue slide for a long while, and then attempted to link it with financial aid being extended to Ukraine.  That attempt failed last week.

In a column for Project Syndicate, I discuss why this matters and what comes next.  Try not to fall asleep.

7 responses to “Perhaps The Most Boring Important Topic In Economics

  1. I think the congress would listen if the new head would expose the hearts tungsten in gold as kahn did. How would you have tackled the issue Simon? Another great article by the way.

  2. ‘…a protective wrapping against political interference, particularly by the US Congress.’

    A politically created institution wants to be insulated from political interference!

  3. @Paddy – “….oh what a tangled web we weave….”

  4. Bitcoin to the rescue......

  5. Bruce E. Woych

    According to Michael Hudson:
    Who in Ukraine benefits from IMF bailout?

  6. Bruce E. Woych

    According to The Real News Network: Published on Mar 21, 2014
    Economists Michael Hudson and Jeffrey Sommers discuss how provisions in an IMF deal, like cuts to gas subsidies and pensions, will hurt the average Ukrainian citizens and benefit kleptocrats
    Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?

  7. Haha, shouldn’t you be charging for that kind of knde?eogwl!