The Great Debate UK
from Felix Salmon:
The Economist has one list of William Hill odds for who's going to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn as managing director of the IMF; William Hill itself has a slightly different list. I would be much obliged if a reader in the UK would please pop down to William Hill for me and place a lot of money on Christine Lagarde at 20-1, as she's listed on the William Hill site, or even at 14-1, where the Economist has her.
Kemal Dervis is the clear favorite here. But I don't buy it: for one thing, the single most important issue facing the managing director of the IMF right now is Greece. And the bad blood between Greece and Turkey is so deep and so ingrained that I simply can't see how any Turk could be credibly impartial on the subject of Greece.
Second-favorite is Montek Singh Ahluwalia, who at 67 is too old for the job. He's followed by the top EU official on the list, Axel Weber. Again, given that the head of the IMF is going to be essentially brokering a deal between Greece, on the one hand, and Germany, on the other, it doesn't make sense to me to put a German in that job.
Also near the top of the list are Gordon Brown, who's already been ruled out by David Cameron; John Lipsky, who's American and therefore a non-starter for anything but a temporary position; and Peer Steinbrück, who's also German. Interestingly, Arminio Fraga is not on the list at all, and neither is Turkish finance minister Mehmet Simsek, one of the few people to openly lobby for the position.
By Martin Hutchinson
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
WASHINGTON -- The International Monetary Fund has a chance to toughen itself up. Under Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the managing director currently imprisoned in New York after being accused of sexual assault, the IMF's lending has multiplied, largely to basket cases like Greece. But recent loans have failed to force change while damaging other lenders' standing.
from Felix Salmon:
It takes Mohamed El-Erian until the very last paragraph of his FT op-ed to rule himself out of the running for managing director of the IMF: "I will not be part of this process," he says, adding that "I already have a great job, here in California."
But it's clear what process he wants:
It is therefore critical that, in the coming weeks, the IMF Executive Board finalise and publicise a process that would be used, should Mr. Strauss-Kahn be forced to resign. Specifically, the post of Managing Director should be open to all nationalities, with candidates assessed on the basis of transparent job qualifications.
from Felix Salmon:
With Dominique Strauss-Kahn being denied bail this morning, it's clear he can no longer run the IMF, let alone run for president of France. No matter how the trial turns out -- even if he's fully exonerated of all charges -- this arrest has effectively ended DSK's career.
So when Mohamed El-Erian writes about the effect of the arrest if DSK's career is over, we can take him as describing the state of the world as it is today: this news is bad for the IMF, bad for France, and bad for any Greek hopes of battling through without a debt restructuring.
from The Great Debate:
By Mohamed A. El-Erian
The opinions expressed are his own.
This weekend's detention of the IMF's chief on allegations of sexual assault has implications that go well beyond the impact on Dominique Strauss-Kahn's (or, as he is commonly known, DSK) international prestige. They could also impact the IMF, France, market uncertainty and the well-being of the global economy.
We must wait to make a full assessment until we know the outcome of ongoing police investigations into allegations that, according to his lawyer, DSK intends to “contest vigorously.” Having said that, some commentators are already taking the view that the IMF could lose its managing director, and that France could lose a leading candidate for next year's presidential elections.
from Felix Salmon:
It now seems more likely that Dominique Strauss-Kahn will end up in a prison cell than that he will be elected president of France. Either way, his career at the IMF is over, which means that the race to succeed him is on.
Gordon Brown would love the job, but he's not going to get it, which is great. The front-runner is Christine Lagarde, who would be better than Brown. But France has held the top job at the IMF for 26 of the past 33 years. It's time for a change, on that front.
from Chrystia Freeland:
Regular readers of Chrystia's column will remember that she recently called out the IMF for failing to foresee the destabilizing effects of rising youth unemployment in Egypt. Specifically, in its April 2010 Article IV assessment of Egypt, the IMF concluded the country's economy was in fact more resistant to external shocks thanks to "sustained and wide-ranging reforms." Well, it turns out that the IMF has evolved in its thinking. In an exclusive interview today with Chrystia and Reuters IMF correspondent Lesley Wroughton, IMF First Managing Director John Lipsky announced that going forward the Fund will more heavily weight unemployment risks in its annual country assessments. "We think that these are very important issues and need to be looked at, and again, not just in cases where it might result in political turmoil but just as a matter of course in examining economic developments and policies," Lipsky said.
Watch the whole exchange here:
Posted by Peter Rudegeair.
– John Keilthy is Managing Partner of ReputationInc Ireland and is a former business journalist and director and chief operating officer of NCB Group. Andrew Hammond is a Director in ReputationInc’s London office and was formerly a UK Government Special Adviser. The opinions expressed are their own. –
In recent weeks, the focus for Ireland and indeed the world’s financial markets has been on devising a plan to remedy the country’s precarious banking and fiscal affairs.
– The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –
The UK should not waste its fiscal crisis. As Britain embarks on its election campaign, this is a perfect opportunity to engage in radical tax and spending reforms designed not just to restore the country’s fiscal balance but to boost its long-term productivity and competitiveness.
Forget about Greece for a moment. Just think about country X, which has lived well beyond its means for years thanks to loans from inattentive or foolishly optimistic lenders. When the crunch comes, the X-people will have to cut back on spending. And the X-lenders will generally suffer from the famous rule of banking: "Can't pay, won't pay."
If Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council, has his way, Greece is not going to be country X despite its weak government, bloated civil service and poor trade position. Van Rompuy said on March 25 that a vague new support agreement should "reassure all the holders of Greek bonds that the euro zone will never let Greece fail". This default taboo should be reconsidered.