Today's NYT carries a story by Steven Weisman on the IMF and its search for a new mission for itself. There is nothing new in it, but the opening paragraph is certainly eye-caching:
A decade ago, the International Monetary Fund helped to stabilize the world economy after markets collapsed in Latin America, Russia and Asia. Though critics often have rued its interventionism, the fund was widely hailed as a heroic guardian of the global financial system.
Well, I was around a decade ago, and I do not recall anyone (possibly other than someone on 19th Street) hailing the IMF as a heroic guardian of anything in the wake of the Asian financial crisis. Instead the debate was about whether the IMF got it just a little bit wrong (the IMF's own post-mortem evaluation) or a whole lot wrong. I don't imagine that Joe Stiglitz and Marty Feldstein see eye to eye on many things, but both thought (along with many others) that the IMF's policies in East Asia had been grossly inappropriate.
But there is a serious question now of what the IMF's future role ought to be. What do you think?