Let's choose the best person to fill the world's top economic post

28 July 2019 - 00:27 By Ashoka Mody

Now that Christine Lagarde has announced her resignation as MD of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Europeans "again" have a "claim" to fill what is arguably the world's most important economic job. Merkel is invoking a decades-old political deal, which gives Europe the IMF leadership in return for allowing Americans to run the World Bank. If global leaders want the IMF to achieve its mission of ensuring international financial stability, they should end this stitch-up and choose the best person for the job. They must also do more to depoliticise the fund.

Although Europeans have run the IMF since its inception in 1945, this wasn't a foregone conclusion. In 1955, the fund's shareholders offered the job to at least two non-Europeans - Bank of Canada governor Graham Towers and CD Deshmukh, previously governor of the Reserve Bank of India and long-time finance minister. Then, in 1963, the stitch-up began...

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