The Race For The IMF

By Simon Johnson (this post comprises the first two paragraphs of a column now running on Bloomberg)

Even before the shocking events of the past few days, the international policy community had been contemplating a successor to Dominique Strauss-Kahn at the International Monetary Fund.

Strauss-Kahn, the IMF managing director, was expected to begin campaigning soon for the presidency of France. Now, whatever happens in the New York legal system as he defends himself against attempted rape allegations, it seems likely that the IMF will be searching for a new head sooner rather than later.

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18 thoughts on “The Race For The IMF

  1. Why are the French always selected to direct the IMF?

    Can someone provide a logical explanation?

  2. It all depends on how far up, and in how many directions, the strings pulling the DSK puppet went.

    If DSK was played, I’m assuming there would be a plan in place after the French electoral path was cleared for Sarkozy. That is, the IMF should go where the US would need it to.

    Indeed, who can afford to take chances at a near-unraveling time like now?

  3. “East is East and West is West”, and the twain shall never meet! (so the wise man said?)
    You can’t unscramble an egg…it’s just futile fait`accompli? The two cultures are regrettably a volatile red herring, period!
    Please note; that the last time I [we] checked…that the Chinese, and Russian’s are far from transparent with Communist China and Totalitarian Russia [?] shadowing India.
    I’m in favor of leaving the leadership remain in Europe (JMHO)
    PS. You were great on BBC last night.
    Thankyou Simon and James

  4. @ old boy Sid Finster. There’s not a world of difference either way, as Naomi Klein demonstrated in her fine book, The Shock Doctrine. I rank this book in the top ten non-fiction works of the past decade, by the way.

    It’s asset stripping by way of unfair advantage, using fiat-based paper “currency”, which funnels via the big hose wealth to the top honchos, and leaves nations poorer, and its’ people worse off.

    We’re in such a dark phase now, Mr. Kurtz is beginning to look decent.

  5. Many of the outstanding MDs at the Fund have been accomplished Central Bankers. Unfortunately, the last three MDs — Kohler, Rato and DSK — have been (charming?) political hacks. Simon mentions a couple of Central Bankers as candidates in his Bloomberg article. A further name would be another accomplished Central Banker who has held very senior positions at the Fund and the Bank — Stan Fisher would be superlative.

    Unfortuantely, I must caution against Kemal Dervis. I knew him as the country economist for Egypt in the early 1980s. He was a modeler with little understanding of the financial sector. Toward the end of the 90’s, as the IBRD’s Vice President for the Middle East he over-rode the recomendations of his technical staff and ramrodded through a loan for several hundreds of millions of dollars for credit to Egyptian agriculture. It turned out that the project was a failure and the loan was cancelled by the IBRD’s Board of Directors.

  6. If they are looking for a “safe choice” I think the IMF couldn’t do much better than Stanley Fischer. I’m currently reading his writings and he seems like a man of very high integrity. Although my guess is, dragging Fischer away from what he probably views as his patriotic duties in Israel would probably take some “finagling”.

  7. “Paul wolfowitz was French? Whocuddaknown?”

    What’s your point?

    Paul Wolfowitz worked for the World Bank. NOT the IMF.

    Get your facts straight.

  8. Hey Simon — Apply — you would have my vote and a tremendous
    number of other votes here and abroad.

  9. Somehow this page keeps posting to my FaceBook page without me “liking” it. There seems to be no way for me to stop this. This is NOT ok with me! Please remove me from whatever list I seem to be on that is auto-posting to my page.

  10. Only Trichet will do. Besides, Europe needs the IMF for a specific reason, and only if it does what the EU wants it to do. As an independent force (and especially with ideological symbolism) is is probably not useful or welcome. Europe does not need the money, it likes an outsider who acts as a messenger boy for the bullies.

  11. Well, consensus everywhere that the NYPD was correct in *containing* a naked man pouncing on the person who came to clean the room – after all, it was a hotel room and not a room at the Lunatic Asylum where everyone working in the asylum expects the worst behaviour from the *residents* and are trained to handle the situation…

    Insanity plea will probably deliver the most merciful outcome for that sexually violent naked man in the hotel room (DSK) – and we’ll send him back to his own country to be cared for…but, probably, too far gone to be *cured*…however, they do have better health care :-), so no problemo…

    So once again, thanks NYPD, experiential wisdom is priceless – crazy people exist in all economic strata…don’t they?

  12. If there is serious push-back from the emerging economies against the Continental European demand for one of their own, but the Europeans are unready to accept a developing world candidate, might there be a compromise candidate to emerge?

    Gordon Brown’s one-man attempt to drum up support for his own candidacy appeared to have died on stony ground. SJ doesn’t even mention his name in the Bloomberg article.

    But as a candidate from Europe with longstanding sympathies to development issues and and interest in developing a new world order, GB could position himself as a transitional figure until a new kind of IMF head next time. Is there any support for his candidacy?

  13. This in from the NY TIMES, the alleged “paper” of record:

    “The president said the killing of Osama bin Laden was “one of the greatest intelligence successes in American history.”

    His spokesman later went on to say, that “Weekend At Bernies” was a cool movie.

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