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June 06 2011

Simon Johnson Half-Convinces Me That Christine Lagarde Would Be a Good IMF Head

Simon Johnson says Christine Lagarde wants to run the IMF so she can lemnd all its money to the Greeks, the Irish, the Portuguese, etc., and so rescue the German and the French banks:

Just a few years ago, euro-zone countries were at the forefront of those saying that the International Monetary Fund had lost its relevance and should be downsized. French authorities regarded the I.M.F. as so marginal that President Nicolas Sarkozy was happy to put forward the name of a potential rival, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, as a candidate for its managing director, in fall 2007. Today the French government is working overtime to make sure that a Sarkozy loyalist, the leader of his economic team — Finance Minister Christine Lagarde — becomes the next managing director. Why do France and other euro-zone countries now care so much about who runs the I.M.F.?

The euro currency union has a serious problem, to be sure, with the likes of Greece, Ireland and Portugal, but it is beyond bizarre that these countries are borrowing from the I.M.F.... Greece has a current account deficit, but its money, the euro, is one of the world’s hardest currencies — a reserve currency in which central banks and private business keep their rainy-day funds (as are dollars, yen, Swiss francs and, perhaps, British pounds). The euro zone as a whole does not have a current account deficit.

I vividly recall discussions with euro-zone authorities in 2007 — when I was chief economist at the I.M.F. — in which they argued that current-account imbalances within the euro zone had no meaning and were not the business of the I.M.F. Their argument was that the I.M.F. was not concerned with payment imbalances between the various American states (all, of course, using the dollar), and it should likewise back away from discussing the fact that some euro-zone countries, like Germany and the Netherlands, had large surpluses in their current accounts while Greece, Spain and others had big deficits.... As the euro is a reserve currency — and a highly regarded one; for example, it remains strong relative to the dollar — the I.M.F. is now essentially lending euros to the euro zone through its various bailout programs.

Does this make sense? No, unless you understand that the goal of these various bailouts is to ensure that German and French taxpayers do not realize the full extent of their losses or appreciate the ways in which their banks have been mismanaged...

I would say that spreading the losses over the IMF's entire capital base rather than making French and German taxpayers pay them is only a second-order goal. The first-order goal is to prevent another flight-to-safety and a Great Depression-scale sovereign debt crisis. Odds are that if you give the French and German taxpayers the choice between paying for the eurozone's financial crisis losses on the one hand and risking a much deeper depression on the other, they will risk deeper depression.

And that would be bad.

I fear Christine Lagarde as a bureaucrat who would bring the euro-sister an consensus to the IMF. Simon fears that she is someone who will not let Mediterranean Europe twist slowly, slowly in the wind.

Our fears cannot both be right.

And we are at a stage in which almost any stimulative policy moves by almost any organization with the political maneuvering room to undertake them is a good idea.

There are times to worry about moral hazard. This is not one of them.

Reposted from02myEcon-01 02myEcon-01

May 23 2011


May 22 2011


May 21 2011

France: French Women Bloggers on the DSK Scandal

French feminist bloggers and women bloggers writing on women's issues, have gained a larger audience and a new respect in France in the aftermath of the Domininique Strauss-Kahn (DSK) scandal. They were the first and very few voices reminding that there was a woman involved, possibly a victim, and they drew attention to the biased and sexist coverage of the French media.

Meet a few French feminist bloggers, blogging from different perspectives but all laboring online against prejudices and the French perception of sexual harassment and crimes.

Clémentine Autain

Clementine autain

Clementine Autain

Clémentine Autain [fr] has gained a new following this week in France for being the first prominent French blogger and politician to speak out against the barrage of pro-DSK coverage on the day the news broke, in this blogpost, ‘A thought for the chambermaid‘ [fr]:

Qui a une pensée pour la femme de chambre ? Pas grand monde, et cela me scandalise.[…] Je veux dire l’omerta qui pèse sur les violences faites aux femmes,

Who spares a thought for the chambermaid? Not many people, and that shocks me. […] I want to talk about the law of silence that weighs on violences against women.

In 2006, in one of her first blog posts, “Why I am a feminist‘ [fr], Clémentine Autain spoke openly of being herself a rape victim at age 22 and how it has been central to her political and feminist engagement. She filed a complaint and her rapist was tried and convicted.

Olympe et le plafond de verre

Olympe et le plafond de verre

Olympe et le plafond de verre

Olympe was spurred to create her blog [fr] about gender discrimination in the work place by her own experience of the plafond de verre (glass ceiling) in work, business and politics.

Her blog is a diary of  big and small offenses done to women in daily life, in politics or in the media. She kept a log of links pointing to disparaging comments published in French media about the chambermaid [fr], and writes:

If you file a complaint for rape, this is what you should expect [all links in fr]:

- They will ask  how on earth raping you is possible because you are unattractive: “Apparently the lawyers were surprised during the court appearance by how unattractive the young lady was.” [on national French radio RMC]

- Or, on the contrary, that your femaleness could explain everything:  ”this chambermaid is a very pretty 30-year old with a nice bosom and behind.” [a quote published in national French daily Le Parisien]

- Or that you are stupid: “He could plead that she had misunderstood, that he was trying to flirt with her and she did not understand.” [on national daily newspaper Le Figaro]

- But after all, il n'y a pas mort d'homme“ (no one was killed) - a comment by Jack Lang [former French Minister of culture and education] reveals his concept of rape. [video from national channel France 2]

Her top award goes to Jean-François Khan, a famous editorialist, who compared the alleged sexual assault of DSK, if proven, to “a romp with the chambermaid“ [on national radio France Culture].

Osez le féminisme

Osez le feminisme [fr] is a website and organization intent on creating a grassroot feminist movement in France. When French commentators went overboard with lewd comments, the site published an appeal stressing what was at stake [fr]: 

To demean the testimony of the plaintif is a serious matter, and dangerous. Serious, because it adds to the burden of this woman. Dangerous, because it signals to rape victims, present or future, that filing a complaint exposes you to risks. […] Osez le féminisme reminds you that every year, in France, 75 000 women are raped. Only  10% of those file a complaint.

Les aventures d'Eutherpe

Les aventures d'eutherpe

Les aventures d'Eutherpe

Hélène's blog, Les aventures d'Eutherpe [fr] is dedicated to “search for women lost in the space-time continum”.

She often revisits history in a feminist and playful style, like in this post on the rehabilitation of serial killer Henry the VIII [fr] in the British television series ‘The Tudors‘. In her post ‘Omerta in France‘ [fr] (the law of silence in France that bred the DSK scandal), she wrote:

L'information s'arrête toujours à la porte de la chambre à coucher. Très bien, mais…même si derrière cette porte quelqu'un.e est en train de hurler au viol ?

Information stops at the door of the bedroom. Fine, but…What if behind that door, someone is screaming because he/she is being raped?


'Causette' magazine cover

'Causette' magazine cover

Finally, women in France can now turn to Causette [fr], a successful and refreshing magazine supportive of women, which was launched in 2009.

Flocha, on Causette's online readers page [fr] is waiting for her magazine's opinion on the DSK scandal:

Before long, we're going to hear she was consenting, she had provoked him with her dress, or that she lied! It stinks! Or is it only me? I'm sure I'm not! I've got an ally: Causette!!! Please say something!!!

May 19 2011

Théorie du complot et régression démocratique

On aura donc tout entendu depuis que Dominique Strauss-Kahn a été interpellé, samedi 14 mai, par la police new-yorkaise, puis inculpé d'agression sexuelle, de séquestration et de tentative de viol. Comme si le caractère extraordinaire de cette affaire et la situation ahurissante - et dramatique - dans laquelle se retrouve l'ancien directeur général du Fonds monétaire international justifiaient, par ricochet, les explications les plus extravagantes.

Dès dimanche, en effet, l'hypothèse d'une machination destinée à abattre M. Strauss-Kahn s'est répandue, notamment sur Internet, comme une traînée de poudre. L'imagination étant sans limite, les spéculations les plus farfelues ont donc été échafaudées : depuis la main de la CIA jusqu'à celle de rivaux au sein du FMI, depuis le bras des grandes banques américaines ou des intérêts financiers menacés par la volonté régulatrice de DSK, depuis les menées occultes de quelque "cabinet noir" proche de l'Elysée, voire de concurrents socialistes, pour écarter un candidat trop dangereux à l'élection présidentielle de 2012.
Ces spéculations se sont donné libre cours d'autant plus aisément que des responsables politiques, proches de M. Strauss-Kahn mais pas seulement, n'ont pas écarté l'éventualité d'un "piège" ou d'une "manipulation". DSK lui-même, comme l'a révélé Libération, avait évoqué, le 28 avril, l'éventualité qu'on cherche à le piéger de cette façon.
Pour couronner le tout, selon un sondage réalisé lundi 16 mai par l'institut CSA pour 20 Minutes, BFM-TV et RMC, 57 % des personnes interrogées, et, parmi elles, 70 % des sympathisants de gauche, pensent que Dominique Strauss-Kahn "est victime d'un complot".
Indépendamment de la question de la légalité d'un tel sondage - normalement interdit par la loi Guigou de 2000 dès lors qu'il porte sur la culpabilité d'une personne mise en cause dans une procédure pénale -, cette enquête est révélatrice de l'état des esprits au pays de Descartes... et au-delà. Que cette affaire soit ressentie comme totalement stupéfiante - et captivante - est inévitable : ne met-elle pas en cause, dans un scandale sexuel présumé, l'un des hommes les plus puissants de la planète, qui plus est candidat potentiel à la présidence de la République française ? Est-ce assez pour perdre toute prudence, toute mesure et toute rationalité ? Non, à l'évidence. Sauf à admettre que la défiance à l'égard de toutes les autorités, et notamment celle de la justice, fût-elle américaine, a atteint un point de non-retour inquiétant. Sauf à admettre, également, que le travail d'enquête et d'information mené par les médias ne pèse plus guère face aux élucubrations les plus saugrenues instantanément mondialisées par Internet.
Sauf à rendre les armes devant un conspirationnisme qui fait florès depuis les attentats du 11 septembre 2001, mais dont on ne doit jamais oublier qu'il est une des racines du totalitarisme et a conduit à de singulières régressions de la démocratie.

Editorial | Le Monde | 19.05.11 |

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Reposted fromScheiro Scheiro
#IMF #Greece #DSK #Lagarde | Chosen links (EN,FR,DE) by,NYTimes,,,, Joe Stiglitz, Brad Delong, #oAnth | (via

Chosen links, bundled via -
Twitter / 02mytwi01: #IMF #Greece #DSK #Lagarde ... | 2011-05-19
Reposted byvertheer vertheer
NYT - 2011-05-18

A Favorite Emerges for Helm of I.M.F.

Christine Lagarde’s reputation for frank talk is helping to make her the leading candidate to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn as head of the I.M.F.


via Christine Lagarde a Favorite to Lead I.M.F. - NYT - 2011-05-18 | oAnth-miscellaneous |

France: The Fall of Dominique Strauss-Kahn?

On Sunday 15 May, 2011, France awoke to a political earthquake: a sex scandal involving the (now former) French president of the IMF (International Monetary Fund), Dominique Strauss-Kahn, arrested for an alleged sexual assault against a chambermaid in a New York hotel.

On day three after the revelation, French bloggers are still struggling to grasp the implications of this global scandal on French politics.

From “Don Juan” to “pervert”

Front page of the french daily newspaper "liberation".

Front page of the French daily newspaper "Liberation".

The political fallout in France will be enormous. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, known as ‘DSK', was the only politician thought to be able to defeat the incumbent President Sarkozy in next year's presidential election. He was even ahead in recent polls.

Romain, blogging on Lyonitude [fr] is in shock:

Moi qui suis un strauss-kahnien des plus convaincus depuis des années, par beau temps et par orage, je suis effondré si les choses se confirment.

As one who has been a fervent supporter of Strauss-Kahn for years, in good and stormy weather, I will be shattered if this is confirmed.

Dorham1er is aghast [fr] at the magnitude of the scandal striking France:

L'affaire Bill Clinton, à coté de tout ce foutoir, c'est le chapitre guimauve d'un mauvais roman de la bibliothèque rose. Il faut sans doute remonter plus loin pour trouver trace d'une affaire aussi grave  […] au tout début des années 80 et à la candidature d'Edward Kennedy à l'investiture démocrate

The Bill Clinton scandal, compared to this mess, is a cheesy chapter in a cheap novel for kids. One must probably go long way back to find such a damaging scandal […] to the early 1980s and Edward Kennedy's candidature to the Democrat ticket.

A few DSK supporters in denial are still sporting “Yes We Khan” banners [fr] and T-shirts on their blogs. One commenter quips:

Yes, we kahn forget (the election)

Focus on media coverage

On day one of the scandal, Sunday, cartoonist Dadou caught the general opinion on the charges facing Strauss Kahn with this sketch: that it could not be true.

The arrest of DSK was written off as harsh local United States laws and as a smear campaign. On Monday, a poll showed that 57%  were still convinced DSK was innocent [fr]. Agnès, on Le Monolecte, commented wryly [fr]:

Après le too big to fail, voici le too powerfull [sic] to rape.

After Too big to fail, here comes too powerful to rape.

On day three of the scandal, in full media frenzy (with 19 million entries related to DSK on Google France), reality is slowy sinking in - that it could be true.

The testimony of Tristane Banon, a young writer who told in 2007 [fr] how she had been sexually assaulted by Strauss-Kahn in 2001, is now world famous, and she gave another interview [fr] on 18 May, 2011, to citizen media outlet Agora Vox to confirm it. Testimonies are now surfacing daily in France about DSK's alleged passes [fr].

Top French blog Partageons mon avis coins the obvious question [fr] in the post ‘Je le savais' (I knew it):

Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, if you knew that [about] DSK… Why did you boost his polls and market him as the providential man?

The pressure is now on French journalists who “knew” about DSK's attitude towards women but kept quiet, save for one journalist, Jean Quatremer, a veteran French European affairs journalist and blogger, who had written on his blog [fr] as early as 2007:

Le seul vrai problème de Strauss-Kahn est son rapport aux femmes. Trop pressant, il frôle souvent le harcèlement. Un travers connu des médias, mais dont personne ne parle (on est en France)

The single serious problem with Strauss-Kahn is his attitude with women. Too ‘heavy', he’s a border-line harasser. A problem well known to the media, but nobody mentions it (we are in France).

Sebastien Rochat pleads not guilty for DSK on the website Arret sur Images, invoking a stringent French law, article 9 of the Civil Code [fr], on the protection of private life:

Comment rester élégant et ne pas être attaqué en justice, tout en évoquant des sujets graveleux qui relèvent de la vie privée ? C'est le dilemme des journalistes dès qu'il s'agit de parler de la vie sexuelle des politiques.

How can you remain elegant and avoid being sued, while evoking lewd topics protected by [French laws on] private life?  It's the journalists' dilemma whenever a politician's sex life is concerned.

Kerbraz [fr] slams back in a comment:

This debate has got nothing to do with today's topic. What we are talking about today is a rape, it is a crime…

Rue89 information site co-founder, Pierre Haski, has opened an online debate with a frank post, ‘Why journalists didn't talk about Strauss-Kahn's private life‘ [fr], admitting he should have broken this law more than once:

Je savais que Roland Dumas, alors qu'il était ministre des Affaires étrangères, était l'amant de Nahed Ojjeh, la fille du ministre syrien de la défense Mustafa Tlass. Fallait-il l'écrire ? Je ne l'ai pas fait, en rangeant cette information dans le domaine de la vie privée, alors que, s'agissant du chef de la diplomatie, je ne pense pas que c'était anodin. J'ai sans doute eu tort.

I knew that Roland Dumas, then French Minister of Foreign Affairs, had an affair with Nahed Ojjeh, daughter of the Syrian Minister of Defence Mustafa Tlass. Should it have been exposed? I did not, classifying this information under private life, even though it involved the top level of the Foreign Office and was no menial thing. I was probably wrong.

karlsquell [fr] does not buy it:

Et pourquoi se taire ? Pour pas perdre les interviews, parce que DSK pouvait accéder à la plus haute marche, par peur, par connivence, par lâcheté, par prudence.

Why keep silent? Not to lose interviews, because DSK could have climbed to the highest step, because of fear, connivence, cautiousness.

A side debate raging about the French press involve the pictures showing a manacled DSK coming out of the police station in New York. The law in France forbids the press to publish pictures of manacled suspects  until they are proven guilty, but they were nevertheless published.

Comments on a thread on newspaper Le Monde's website [fr] show a divided opinion on this law:

Henriette: Et dire que Sarkozy veut introduire le système américain. Cela donne des frissons dans le dos.

Henriette: And to think that Sarkozy wants to introduce the American system. This sends shivers down your spine.

Irca: Les Français, qui ont guillotiné Louis XVI en public et en sont fiers, ont été choqués par la vue du roi des sondages menotté.

Irca: The French who beheaded king Louis XVIII  in public, and are proud of it, are shocked by the sight of the ‘king of the polls' in manacles.
Thumbnail of Dominique Strauss-Kahn by International Monetary Fund on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

The Greek debt crisis: The ECB’s three big mistakes

Jeffrey Frankel, 16 May 2011

It is a year since Greece was bailed out by EU and IMF and there are many who label it a failure. This column says that while there is plenty of blame to go around, there were three big mistakes made by the European Central Bank. Number one: Letting Greece join the euro in the first place

Full Article: The Greek debt crisis: The ECB’s three big mistakes
Reposted from02myEcon-01 02myEcon-01


Le FMI et son directeur général répétaient à l'envi que la réduction du déficit public est une nécessité première des Grecs, comme demain de nos concitoyens. Or, loin de désendetter les générations futures, elle plombe leur avenir, si elle consistait à réduire les dépenses d'éducation, de santé, et les chances d'emploi dans l'économie réelle. Si le destin d'un homme peut convaincre que l'impasse dans laquelle s'enfonce la nation grecque dépasse le sort de ce pays, qu'elle témoigne d'un échec plus profond de la gauche européenne à proposer un modèle alternatif de croissance et de redistribution plus équitable du profit matériel et culturel, alors, le drame du héros n'aura pas été vain.

Puisque les socialistes veulent en 2012, non seulement gagner la présidentielle en France, mais "changer de civilisation", il est encore temps de ne pas confondre rigueur nécessaire et rigorisme financier ordinaire, rationalité économique supposée et logique de fonctionnement des sociétés.

Non,M. Strauss-Kahn n'est pas le sauveur de la Grèce | - Guy Burgel, professeur à l'université Paris-Ouest-Nanterre-la Défense - 2011-05-17

May 18 2011

Guy Burgel: Strauss-Kahn war nicht der Retter Griechenlands

Inhalte eines am 18. Mai 2011 in der französischen Tageszeitung Le Monde erschienenen Artikels von Guy Burgel, Professor an der Pariser Universität Paris-Ouest-Nanterre-la Défense.
Originaltitel: „Non, M.Strauss-Kahn n’est pas le sauveur de la Grèce“.
Burgel ist Autor eines Buches über die Entwicklung Griechenlands im 20. Jahrhundert („Miracle athénien au XXe siècle, Verlag CNRS Editions 2002“). Übertragen von Gerhard Kilper

Der Fall Strauss-Kahn wirft ganz grundsätzlich die Frage der Kohärenz der weltweit betriebenen Finanzpolitik und deren Auswirkungen auf die Zukunft der Bevölkerung betroffener Länder auf, Griechenland ist lediglich ein exemplarischer Fall.

Der sozialistische griechische Ministerpräsident ist bereit, den ihm von internationalen Instanzen – mit dem IWF an der Spitze – verordneten Kreuzweg zur Sanierung der öffentlichen Finanzen zu beschreiten. Das Paradoxe an diesem linken Politiker ist seine Bereitschaft, in Griechenland seit Jahrzehnten praktizierte Politikirrtümer mit Mitteln korrigieren wollen, die bisher allgemeine Domäne erzkonservativer Regierungen waren: Lohnsenkungen, Senkung des Renteneintrittsalters, Einfrieren der Pensionen, Erhöhung der Umsatzsteuer, Verlängerung der Arbeitszeit und vor allem das Ende von Neu-Einstellungen in den öffentlichen Dienst (verbunden mit der Rücknahme öffentlicher Leistungsangebote).

Die Liste unpopulärer Maßnahmen, die in anderen Zeiten zu Massendemonstrationen, zu verstärktem öffentlichen Engagement entrüsteter Gewerkschaften und zu unkontrollierbaren Aktionen von Extremisten geführt hätten, werden im von der Krise ausgelösten innenpolitischen Klima allgemeiner Bestürzung und Lähmung hingenommen.

Der Kranke stirbt vor seiner Genesung – darin besteht das Risiko der von internationalen Institutionen Griechenland verordneten Medizin. Unbestreitbar ist, dass sich rechte wie linke Politiker in Griechenland in der Vergangenheit aus den Pfründen eines überdimensionierten Staatsapparats bedient haben.

Dem öffentlichen Dienst Griechenlands fehlt heute in erschreckendem Maß qualifiziertes Personal im medizinischen Bereich, an den Schulen, im Bereich sozialer Dienstleistungen und im Bereich der Aufrechterhaltung öffentlicher Sicherheit.

Die verstärkte Eintreibung von Steuern ist eine gute Sache, doch müsste auch dafür gesorgt werden, dass das in der Volkswirtschaft zirkulierende Geld in Umlauf bleibt, dass nicht Geschäfte in den Hauptgeschäftsstraßen griechischer Städte nacheinander schließen. Wer diese Entwicklung nicht zur Kenntnis nehmen will, ignoriert, dass die Konsumnachfrage privater Haushalte schon immer Hauptmotor realen Wachstums war (unter der Hand äußern „überzeugte“ Liberale, es käme ihnen nicht ungelegen, sollte eine autoritäre Regierung endlich Ordnung sowohl im Land als auch bei der illegalen Einwanderung schaffen).
Grundirrtum des IWF und seiner Strategen ist, nicht verstanden zu haben, dass der griechische Staat nicht geschwächt, sondern als solcher und im sozialen Bereich neu begründet werden muss. Der IWF und sein Generaldirektor äußerten wiederholt, die Reduktion des griechischen Defizits müsse allererste Priorität haben. Mit drastischen Ausgabenkürzungen werden jedoch nicht, wie behauptet, künftige Generationen entlastet. Ausgabenkürzungen als Kürzungen von Ausgaben für Bildung und Gesundheit verbauen vielmehr die Zukunft künftiger Generationen und mindern deren Arbeitsplatz-Chancen in der realen Wirtschaft.

Der Irrweg, in den Griechenland derzeit getrieben wird, ist jedoch nicht Schicksal irgendeines Landes, die griechische Sackgasse ist auch Ausdruck eines grundsätzlichen Scheiterns der europäischen Linken!

Nur wenn die Krise bewirken kann, dass sich die europäische Linke zu einem alternativen Wachstumsprojekt mit gerechterer Reichtums-Verteilung durchringen kann, wäre das Opfer der Griechen nicht umsonst.

Da die französischen Sozialisten im Jahr 2012 nicht nur Präsidentschaftswahlen gewinnen, sondern auch einen zivilisatorisch-kulturellen Wandel im Land schaffen wollen, ist es für die Linke noch nicht zu spät, in der Finanzpolitik zwischen sachlich gebotener Haushaltsdisziplin und dem üblich gewordenen Finanz-Rigorismus, zwischen angenommener Ökonomie-Rationalität und der Logik des tatsächlichen Funktionierens von Gesellschaften zu unterscheiden.

May 16 2011


[Brad DeLong: No, the IMF Does Not Need Another European Head...] ?

written by oAnth as a commentary to entry-permalink at

The kind of rough language, which is in use here by Brad DeLong, reflects to a high extend a certain financial imperial attitude that points IMHO in 2 directions:

a) the Americans and UK are quite sure, that Mme Lagarde won't make it, because of her more or less open critics she uttered last year in case of the German debts politics concerning Southern Europe and Merkel Germany's  low income policy,

b) Lagarde would be the third French IMF-chief the last 20 years  (after Michel Camdessus 1987-2000 & Strauss-Kahn, from 2007 on). A quite cheap argument but certainly in some other European states' interest, foremost unfortunately in Merkel's and Cameron's.

A political open confrontation between Germany and French could be the result of a by the US provoced opposition to Lagarde's candidature; unnecessary to explain who would be the 3rd winning part as consequence of such a constellation.

Brad DeLong's reaction on Münchau shows a typical reductionist standpoint à la US foreign and financial policy, which is internationally one of the major reasons for local disintegration, balkanisation and hereby sparked tensions.
A short view back might help, what must be considered in the political situation of Europe today.

Since the Greek financial breakdown Europe's politics are completely disintegrated due to Frau Merkel's political mono German orientated economic diplomacy. The multiplicity of interests inside the European Union has been abandoned by Germany's financial and social agenda - what means, that the economic strongest part of Europe decided to follow a national authoritarian guide line, which accelerates the already ongoing rejection against the European Union inside and outside the member states and triggers more and more open resistance against the by the IMF and Germany as economic remedy claimed financial and social hardships.

As a consequence of Merkel's authoritarian IMF policy outlines it takes not too many subsidiary conclusions to understand, why Europe has used so weak measures against the new Hungarian constitution. In fact, it seams much more, that there is a silent laissez-faire agreement with the legal changings enforced by Viktor Orbán.

Arguments inside and outside of Germany which are pointing in the same direction are endless and, I must admit, for Europe's sake, frightening. Merkel's political ruthless opportunism has proven since the beginning of the Greek crisis more than once its disastrous effects.

Btw, I don't ask necessarily for Mme Lagarde as a successor for Strauss-Kahn - nevertheless, she is praised as one of the most capable - but I am asking from the American side for a much more subtle insight in European politics as it is shown here by one of the most renowned US-American economist. This saying I don't want to play down Münchau's rather undiplomatic shooting forward.

At the address of Brad DeLong: to propose Larry Summers as chief of the IMF follows quite frankly spoken directly an already much too wellknown and hardly to forget neoliberal policy with all its consequences we see us in today - it would be worth a new chapter in Naomi Klein's analysis of the Shock Doctrine. A brief brainstorming on the 2nd Clinton term should be rather helpful, likewise in this regard is also to consider a look to the readers' comments in Brad DeLong's blog.

oAnth - Muc - 2011-05-16-19

written as a commentary to permalink at

No, the IMF Does Not Need Another European Head | Blog - Brad Delong - 2011-05-16

Wolfgang Munchau is fast out of the gate:

The IMF needs another European head: This is not the most fashionable argument one could make so soon after the events in New York at the weekend. But let me say it flat out: I believe the case for a European successor to Dominique Strauss-Kahn is overwhelming. To be clear: I am not supporting the principle that the managing director of the International Monetary Fund should, by default, be a European. On the contrary, I believe the job should always go the most capable candidate. I just believe that considering the IMF’s current priorities, one should not be so quick to rule out a European candidate at this point...

But he has no European candidate. He names only one name, Christine Lagarde--and with all due respect, certainly I would rather have either Armenio Fraga or Larry Summers.

Munchau continues:

The IMF’s most important programmes are currently European. The eurozone’s contagious financial crisis constitutes the biggest threat to global financial stability today.... What is perhaps not so much appreciated outside the eurozone has been the IMF’s political role in keeping the eurozone’s rescue strategy on track.... The eurozone clearly needed the IMF’s technical competences in dealing with its sovereign debt crises.... But the IMF’s single most important influence in eurozone crisis resolution has been political. In a situation marked by a lack of political leadership, the IMF filled a vacuum.

So I wonder to what extent a highly competent Mexican central banker, for example, would be able to fulfil this role? The various candidates mentioned as potential successors to Mr Strauss-Kahn are technically skilled, but in assessing their relative merits, we should take into account that the new IMF chief will deal with mostly European issues for most of his or her first term at the top level.... A PhD in economics and an extensive experience in dealing with financial instability may be desirable qualities. But at a time like this, they are not sufficient. The game has changed.

The Europeans have monopolised this position. That must stop, and it will stop. But now, and probably for the first time, we may actually need a European managing director.... There are plenty of excellent candidates, including Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister...

Reposted from02myEcon-01 02myEcon-01

May 07 2011

"The IMF’s Switch in Time" by Joseph Stiglitz

The annual spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund was notable in marking the Fund’s effort to distance itself from its own long-standing tenets on capital controls and labor-market...
Reposted from02myEcon-01 02myEcon-01
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