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Silent Revolution: The International Monetary Fund 1979 1989. By James M. Boughton. Washington, DC: The International Monetary Fund, 2001. Pp. xxvii, 1111. $75. The Chastening: Inside the Crisis that Rocked the Global Financial System and Humbled the IMF. By Paul Blustein. New York: Public Affairs, 2001. Pp. xvi, 431. $30

  • Fratianni, Michele

These two books have one element in common, the International Monetary Fund. For the rest, they differ in virtually every dimension. James Boughton, Assistant Director of the fund s Policy Development and Review Department, writes a colossal history of the institution for the period 1979 1989; his insider s perspective is inherently sympathetic to the institution and its main actors. Paul Blustein, a financial journalist of the Washington Post, describes the fund s handling of the financial crises of 1997 1999 in Thailand, South Korea, Indonesia, Russia, and Brazil; as an outsider, he has no institutional allegiance and, as a matter of fact, his assessment of the fund is negative. There are other differences, to be sure: Boughton s is a heavily researched history, rich not only in institutional knowledge but also in theories and policy debates; Blustein s focuses almost exclusively on the policy aspect. Boughton relies primarily on archival material, whereas Blustein on interviews with key policy makers, both inside and outside the fund. Boughton writes for an audience of economists and policy makers, Blustein for the educated but unspecialized. Boughton s work reads like a treatise, Blustein s like a novel.

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Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal The Journal of Economic History.

Volume (Year): 62 (2002)
Issue (Month): 03 (September)
Pages: 925-928

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Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:62:y:2002:i:03:p:925-928_00
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