Sunday, May 8, 2011
Lagarde Holds On
Christine Lagarde has held on to her post as finance minister for quite a long time now. In the beginning, such longevity seemed unlikely: a political neophyte, she made any number of gaffes in her first year. But for the most part she has kept her nose clean, avoided major trouble, and managed her department well enough through a difficult period of crisis. She has been outspoken on financial regulation, though perhaps a little too quick to blame the entire crisis on the American decision to allow Lehman Brothers to fail--apparently because she was miffed about having been kept in the dark. Nevertheless, she has gained the respect of her fellow finance ministers as a woman who is always well-prepared. This article questions whether she has achieved much beyond good management and concludes that the answer is no. But it hasn't been a good time for reform of this particular ministry, which has had too many fires to put out, so I am inclined to be indulgent.