Reforming the IMF: Back to the drawing board
A genuine reform of the IMF would require as much a redirection of its activities as improvements in its policies and operational modalities. There is no sound rationale for the Fund to be involved in development and trade policy, or in bail-out operations in emerging market crises. It should focus on short-term counter-cyclical current account financing and policy surveillance. To be effective in crisis prevention it should help emerging markets to manage unsustainable capital inflows by promoting appropriate measures, including direct and indirect controls. It should also pay greater attention to destabilizing impulses originating from macroeconomic and financial policies in major industrial countries. Any reform designed to bring greater legitimacy would need to address shortcomings in its governance structure, but the Fund is unlikely to become a genuinely multilateral institution with equal rights and obligations for all its members, de facto as well as de jure, unless it ceases to depend on a few countries for resources and there is a clear separation between multilateral and bilateral arrangements in debt and finance.
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