Op-Eds and Letters

New institutions can be a force for good governance, Financial Times, 30 march 2015 (Robert Wade and Jakob Vestergaard):  “Philip Stephens says that China’s plans for an Asian infrastructure bank, a Brics bank and a New Silk Road project add to the fragmentation of the post-1945 globally integrated economic and financial system” >>

New institutions deserve a warmer welcome, Financial Times, 4 November 2014 (Robert Wade and Jakob Vestergaard):  In your editorial, “Beijing’s challenge to the world of Bretton Woods, you warn China that “if it does not embrace transparent and exacting governance standards” for the four international financial organisations created this year “they may wither”. Successive scandals in Wall Street and the City of London suggest that these centres continue to flourish with less than transparent and exacting governance standards. More generally, the new organisations warrant more than your lukewarm welcome >>

BRICS bank ought to be welcomed by poorer countries, Financial Times, 6 August 2014 (Robert Wade and Jakob Vestergaard): Since real catch-up has proved slow and erratic (with a few sizeable exceptions), and since real voice reform in the Bretton Woods organisations has moved at a glacial pace, developing countries should welcome new sources of public infrastructure investment and emergency financing.>>

The IMF needs a reset, New York Times, February 4, 2014 (Robert Wade and Jakob Vestergaard): For all the criticism that has been directed at it over the decades, the International Monetary Fund provides vital services to the world economy. In particular, it acts as the nearest thing to an international lender of last resort to countries experiencing external financial crises — and thereby helps to maintain international financial stability >>

Big changes are needed to make the IMF fit for purpose, Financial Times, November 18, 2011 (Robert Wade and Jakob Vestergaard): If the IMF is to have a bigger role – especially by tapping resources from large surplus countries and other fast-growing economies like Brazil – it must carry through still more “voice reforms” on top of the agonisingly negotiated ones announced in 2010 >>

G20+5 reinforces the problem of arbitrary mechanisms, Financial Times, April 18, 2011 (Robert Wade and Jakob Vestergaard): The G20 has indeed become a “G20 plus five”, and thereby gives more countries voice in the G20 process. Three important qualifications must be made, however. First, the G20 plus five suffers from the problem that the balance of single country seats versus country constituency seats is dramatically worse than in the existing Bretton Woods organisations: 19 member countries represent only themselves, leaving it to the European Union seat and five special guests to “represent” the remaining 173 countries >>

Judging G20 by input ignores output problems, Financial Times, April 5, 2011 (Robert Wade and Jakob Vestergaard): By taking as given the G20 as presently constituted, (Daniel Price) ignores the fact that it does not meet widely accepted criteria of “input” legitimacy. First, it is constituted as a reflex of G7 power. Its 19 states plus the European Union were selected back in 1999 by the US Treasury and the German finance ministry, using no explicit criteria, and its membership cannot even be “reverse-engineered”. It includes several states that are obviously not “systemically significant” >>

Overhaul the G20 for the sake of the G172, Financial Times, October 21, 2010 (Robert Wade and Jakob Vestergaard): In the eyes of many of the “G172” – the 172 member states of the UN that are not members of the G20 – it is a self-appointed and barely legitimate body that has no authority to assume its current role. This deeper legitimacy problem amplifies the G20’s current difficulties; but addressing the legitimacy issue directly might help to establish a new body in its place as a viable steering committee for the world economy >>