The Way Forward for Global Financial Policy

Rich countries, developing countries, and the IMF are all to blame for the current paralysis when it comes to creating policies to address the risks stemming from financial globalization. But, as the world's financial and political leaders meet in Washington this month for the IMF's semi-annual meetings, now is the time to reinvigorate the push for greater liberalization of international capital flows.

Financial globalization is exploding. Yet, as the world’s leading finance ministers and central bankers convene in Washington this month for the semi-annual International Monetary Fund board meetings, policy paralysis continues. There is simply no agreement on how to address glaring problems such as America’s increasingly fragile trade deficit, or financial dysfunction in a number of emerging markets.

This paralysis has three layers. First, rich countries are deeply reluctant to embrace any collective plan that might impinge on their own domestic policy maneuvers. The United States is the worst offender. US Treasury secretaries have always loved to lecture their foreign colleagues on America’s economic perfection, and why every country should seek to emulate it. Never mind that this logic is now in danger of unraveling along with the US housing market; Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson will stick to it. But the fact that the US looks set to borrow almost $900 billion this year from the rest of the world is hardly a sign of US strength and foreign weakness.

It is difficult to summarize the cacophony of European voices so succinctly. The French are deeply ambivalent about globalization, as if it were yet another invading force. The British have nearly the opposite perspective. Nevertheless, Europeans generally agree that their societies produce the best lifestyles, even if their economies are less efficient than America’s in a Darwinian sense. Thus, European finance ministers, too, will not be keen to admit any need for major policy changes to deal with risks from financial globalization.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/iqYLt74;
  1. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

    Angela Merkel’s Endgame?

    The collapse of coalition negotiations has left German Chancellor Angela Merkel facing a stark choice between forming a minority government or calling for a new election. But would a minority government necessarily be as bad as Germans have traditionally thought?

  2. Trump Trade speech Bill Pugliano/Getty Images .

    Preparing for the Trump Trade Wars

    In the first 11 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has failed to back up his words – or tweets – with action on a variety of fronts. But the rest of the world's governments, and particularly those in Asia and Europe, would be mistaken to assume that he won't follow through on his promised "America First" trade agenda.

  3. A GrabBike rider uses his mobile phone Bay Ismoyo/Getty Images

    The Platform Economy

    While developed countries in Europe, North America, and Asia are rapidly aging, emerging economies are predominantly youthful. Nigerian, Indonesian, and Vietnamese young people will shape global work trends at an increasingly rapid pace, bringing to bear their experience in dynamic informal markets on a tech-enabled gig economy.

  4. Trump Mario Tama/Getty Images

    Profiles in Discouragement

    One day, the United States will turn the page on Donald Trump. But, as Americans prepare to observe their Thanksgiving holiday, they should reflect that their country's culture and global standing will never recover fully from the wounds that his presidency is inflicting on them.

  5. Mugabe kisses Grace JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images

    How Women Shape Coups

    In Zimbabwe, as in all coups, much behind-the-scenes plotting continues to take place in the aftermath of the military's overthrow of President Robert Mugabe. But who the eventual winners and losers are may depend, among other things, on the gender of the plotters.

  6. Oil barrels Ahmad Al-Rubaye/Getty Images

    The Abnormality of Oil

    At the 2017 Abu Dhabi Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, the consensus among industry executives was that oil prices will still be around $60 per barrel in November 2018. But there is evidence to suggest that the uptick in global growth and developments in Saudi Arabia will push the price as high as $80 in the meantime.

  7. Israeli soldier Menahem Kahana/Getty Images

    The Saudi Prince’s Dangerous War Games

    Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is working hard to consolidate power and establish his country as the Middle East’s only hegemon. But his efforts – which include an attempt to trigger a war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon – increasingly look like the work of an immature gambler.