Both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have been in the news lately. Most, most recently just today–there are reports Hillary Clinton wants to be the president of the World Bank. And, of course, over the past several week’s we’ve been dealing with the alleged rape of a hotel maid by now former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
There’s lots of talk of the personalities, but not very much about what these organizations do and how they differ. Now with talk of two women potentially heading up the organizations, let’s get some background. From the IMF site, please click through but here’s a snippet:
Known collectively as the Bretton Woods Institutions after the remote village in New Hampshire, U.S.A., where they were founded by the delegates of 44 nations in July 1944, the Bank and the IMF are twin intergovernmental pillars supporting the structure of the world’s economic and financial order. That there are two pillars rather than one is no accident. The international community was consciously trying to establish a division of labor in setting up the two agencies. Those who deal professionally with the IMF and Bank find them categorically distinct. To the rest of the world, the niceties of the division of labor are even more mysterious than are the activities of the two institutions.
…Superficially the Bank and IMF exhibit many common characteristics. Both are in a sense owned and directed by the governments of member nations. The People’s Republic of China, by far the most populous state on earth, is a member, as is the world’s largest industrial power (the United States). In fact, virtually every country on earth is a member of both institutions. Both institutions concern themselves with economic issues and concentrate their efforts on broadening and strengthening the economies of their member nations…
The fundamental difference is this: the Bank is primarily a development institution; the IMF is a cooperative institution that seeks to maintain an orderly system of payments and receipts between nations. Each has a different purpose, a distinct structure, receives its funding from different sources, assists different categories of members, and strives to achieve distinct goals through methods peculiar to itself.
Considering money and the world economy is where virtually all power resides, it provides a bit of perspective when it comes to the attitude of someone like Strauss-Kahn and what he thinks he can get away with when it comes to a hotel maid. Clinton’s interest in the World Bank is even more interesting. She’s already said she will not stay with the Obama administration for another term, but if the rumors are true and she wants this (Clinton denies it and of course they would, she’s a sitting Secretary of State), Clinton will have to be nominated for the post by Obama, and approved by the 187 member countries. I have a feeling the two do not like each other very much, and what a perfect way to get Hillary out of the way when it comes to the 2012, and Hillary, the poor soul that she is, will finally be referred to as “President,” but once again only because of the largesse of a man who’s a POS.
When it comes to the IMF French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde very much wants the job vacated by Strauss-Kahn and is now actively campaigning member countries for support. She’s even engaged Twitter on the issue.
As a feminist I very much like the idea of women having more power. But as we’ve seen with women like Nancy Pelosi gender cannot be the only factor. While women tend not to chase interns around or tweet naked pictures of themselves to college guys, they can be as incompetent, malevolent and malignantly narcissistic as men. Liberal women especially, while they call themselves feminist, have been the first ones to defend the misogyny that swirls around them in the liberal political world. I find it rather ironic that the world would look to women for leadership in the midst of the reckless and dangerous behavior of men, yet Hillary Clinton remains at the top of the liberal pile, a woman who enabled philandering sex addict a husband and blinked when faced with an incompetent, vapid lawyer from Chicago when it mattered most.
Not exactly the best sign for a change in expectations. Considering extraordinary damage can be done by people with their pants on, character will always count, even when it comes to women.
Market Watch: Emerging markets uncoordinated on IMF leader
Business Week: Is Christine Lagarde Right for the IMF?