Post-Crisis, A New Mission for the IMF: Echoes

By Amity Shlaes and Ilan Kolet

The IMF, discussed here this week, was key in preventing a much broader economic crisis after the financial turmoil of 2008. Year-to-date IMF credit outstanding, which measures active borrowing, among other things, has since increased to record levels. The fund has revamped its lending program and was able to quickly approve loans for countries in distress, most notably Greece and Ireland.

Once the global economy regains strength, how should the role of the fund evolve? And what can it do to prevent burgeoning bailouts in the future?

According to researchers at the Bank of Canada, the IMF should focus much more on surveillance and crisis prevention. The bank sets out an interesting framework here to help the IMF adopt such a mission.

In a 2009 speech, the governor of the Bank of Canada suggested that countries could agree to "mutual assessments of monetary, exchange rate, fiscal and financial policies, with the assistance of the IMF and other international financial institutions."

Canada is in a good place to comment. It was the first country in the G-7 to recoup its lost output and jobs after the recession, and has some of the most stable banks in the world.

(Amity Shlaes, a senior fellow in economic history at the Council on Foreign Relations and a Bloomberg View columnist, oversees the Echoes blog. The opinions expressed are her own. Ilan Kolet, who created this graphic, is a data editor at Bloomberg News.)

© Copyright 2011 Bloomberg

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