Sunday, April 23, 2006

Good Luck to the IMF

The G7 are unanimous in support of a larger role of the IMF in the control of exchange rates. I cannot believe anyone is naive enough to believe that an international organization can control anything. All we have to do is look at the UN's incapacity to bring peace to the world to realize this is a pipe dream.

[Thanks to Lewis Carroll for this etching.]

Just think about countries like Russia, Saudi Arabia or China. For example, do we really think the Chinese government will allow the rest of the world to mandate the exchange rate between the yuan and any other currency? I don't think so. No dictator takes orders. Fortunately, in the long run, markets don't either, and China's centralized efforts to control the yuan will probably fail sooner or later all by themselves -- hopefully before too much damage is done all around.

I'd say, let's look at the UN successes and failures before we globalize something else. Let each country mind his own business. Let the market and individual market participants handle the problems as they arise.

Who knows, maybe gold will reassert itself as a de facto monetary standard by popular demand. I can think of ways it could be done; I can also imagine that the free market will come up with other ways to do it that we haven't dreamed of yet. One of those ways is not the IMF -- unless of course you privatize it -- a not-so-crazy idea I've seen here in the 11/22/04 Research Reports of the American Institute for Economic Research.

I also highly recommend their book, Prospects for Reforming the IMF and the World Bank, a collection of submissions to a panel discussion at AIER on this very subject in November of 2004. You'll get the opinions of the participants, some of whom were actually on the Melzer Commission: Gerald P. O'Driscoll, Jr., W. Lee Hoskins, Richard Huber, Adam Lerrick, Kenneth Rogoff, Mary Anastasia O'Grady, Robert Skidelsky, Brett D. Schaefer, Thomas Ferguson, Claudia Rosett, Ian Vasquez, Walker F. Todd, Walter Cadette, Sara Cooper, Jane Bussey, and Jack Willoughby.

Remember my motto: You can take the gold out of the standard, but you can't take the standard out of gold.


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