The Mystery of Lagarde
OK, so it’s Christine Lagarde for the IMF. I wish her luck. And I wish we had any idea how well she’ll do the job.
It’s not as if she’s especially enigmatic: in addition to being smart, by all accounts she’s serious, responsible, and judicious. But that, of course, is what worries me.
For we’re living in an era in which, for the time being, conventional prudence is folly, conventional virtue is vice. The things Very Serious People want to do — slash deficits right away, “normalize” interest rates, worry about inflation — are exactly the kind of things that could turn the slump of 2008-? into decades of stagnation.
Under Strauss-Kahn, the IMF was staking out a position as the least dogmatic, most open-minded of the major international organizations. That’s not saying too much, but it was much better than the madmen in authority at the OECDor the BIS.
So the question is, will the IMF become more sensible under Lagarde? For the sake of the world economy, let’s hope not.