– Dean Acheson
“Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.”
– John Maynard Keynes
I don’t often agree with Keynes, but he is the most quotable of all major economists. The above sentence was one of his best. He was right about defunct economists. Of course, he was talking about all those other defunct economists who no longer kept up with his new and improved way of thinking about all things economic. Now his quip comes back to haunt his legacy and his followers.
Theories and practices often outlive their usefulness in our fast-changing world. So do institutions, including those chartered at the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference. In today’s letter we are going to look closely at the International Monetary Fund and a scathing report from its own internal auditors. For those of us who have been following the IMF for decades, the report is not all that surprising.
My real purpose here is not to point the finger at the IMF but to point out where its problems are part and parcel of a greater problem in global institutions. During the next global recession we are going to see a continuation of the same approaches to crisis solving that we’ve seen in the past, based on the theories of defunct economists mixed with personal and institutional biases. Their prescription is a witches’ brew that we will be told is good for us but that will in fact ensure that those of us least able to cope will bear the brunt of its impact. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »