Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Roubini Global Economics Has a New Weblog

To be written by Felix Salmon:

RGE - Economonitor: The IMF quota reform, despite already having been passed by the board, is far from a foregone conclusion: it needs to be passed by 85% of member states (on a one-country-one-vote basis) at the meetings in Singapore. And there's quite a bit of horse-trading going on, especially with some African states and Brazil and Argentina, to make sure they come on board.

The reform is relatively minor: Turkey's quota, for instance, is being increased from 964 million SDRs to 1.191 billion SDRs. And no one really believes this change on its own will make much of a difference to anything: the groups with vetoes will continue to be the groups with vetoes.

But the difficulty pushing this reform through speaks to the difficulty of reforming the IMF in any kind of meaningful way. The Bretton Woods Project, for instance, notes that a group of European civil society organisations has proposed much more radical measures:

Their open statement calls for restructuring to bring the institution's governance in line with standards that are considered acceptable at the national level. As an interim step towards achieving that long-term goal they have supported an immediate shift to a double majority voting system, under which any decision would have to be supported by a majority of member countries and a majority of the voting weight. In addition, they demanded an end to the convention of the IMF's top job always going to a European and full transparency, including publication of board meeting transcripts and votes.

It's all relatively unobjectionable to an outside observer, but given the difficulty involved in doing very little, we're going to go on the assumption that doing something of this kind of magnitude is in practice impossible.

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