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商业 - 金融

危机让国际货币基金组织跌入现实世界

Colin Barr 2011年05月18日

欢迎来到后危机时代,国际货币基金组织。

    国际货币基金组织(IMF)总裁、法国人多米尼克•斯特劳斯-卡恩因涉嫌企图强奸一位酒店女服务员,周一在纽约被传唤并羁押。预计他不久会辞职。毕竟,无法获得保释,就无法参与国际货币基金组织当前的一些重要事务,包括救助希腊、爱尔兰和葡萄牙等债台高筑的国家。

    即便如此,如果你预计斯特劳斯-卡恩的下台会冲击欧洲的救助和遮掩机制,短时间内你可能要失望了。

    救助决定“最终是一个欧洲的政治问题”,彼得森国际经济研究所(Peterson Institute for International Economics)的雅各布•芬克•科克加德表示,“这些国家和国际货币基金组织之间的协作关系如此稳固,目前很难想象这会掀起很大波澜。”

    上周六事件的更深层次影响可能是世界经济领导权将从债台高筑的西方转向新兴的东方——这股加速的趋势几乎肯定会呈现在接过斯特劳斯-卡恩烂摊子的继任者身上。

    国际货币基金组织总裁传统上都来自欧洲,就像世界银行(World Bank)行长都来自美国一样。但随着发展中国家在全球经济中的比重越来越不容忽视,它们对于被排除在这些职务之外日益不满——上周末的事件将使得遵循传统更加困难。

    “只有真正出色的欧洲候选人才具有足以接替斯特劳斯-卡恩的公信度,”科克加德说,“世界经济的变化意味着国际货币基金组织需要真正做到全球化,这影响到谁来接替。”

    他认为,唯一可行的欧洲候选人是法国财政部长克里斯汀•拉嘉德。她有一些“独特的优势,”包括可能成为国际货币基金组织的首任女总裁。

    但以中国、印度和巴西为首的发展中国家现在有了一个从西方手中夺取领导权的机会,如果它们能就推举一位合适的候选人达成一致。

    科克加德表示,发展中世界的首选国际货币基金组织总裁候选人包括新加坡财政部长尚达曼,供职于布鲁金斯学会(Brookings Institution) 的土耳其人凯默•德维斯以及主管墨西哥银行(Bank of Mexico)的奥古斯汀•卡斯腾斯。

    “当然,你会提问,中国支持的候选人对印度而言是否可以接受,反之亦然,”科克加德表示,“他们的任务是找到一个能获得各方支持的候选人。”

    国际货币基金组织总裁一职并非是近期唯一一个将出现空缺的职位。目前由美国人约翰•利普斯基占据的该组织二把手位置也将随着利普斯基的离去,于8月份出现空缺。而目前由美国人罗伯特•佐利克占据的世界银行行长职务不久也将出现空缺。

    当然,国际金融组织的国际化进程是不可避免的。如果西方人期待巴西和中国能弥补其经济疲弱之不足,就必须为此放弃一些东西。

    现在的问题是相比始于去年秋季的大宗商品价格飙升,新兴国家是否能更好地把握这次机会。在大宗商品价格飙升过程中,巴西,特别是中国的影响巨大——但二者一概将此归咎于本•伯南克。

    这听上去更像是国会的胡言乱语,而不是准备执掌世界经济的领导者的行为。如果一切顺利的话,这次新兴国家会做得好一些。

    The IMF's chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn of France, was arraigned and jailed Monday in New York on charges he tried to rape a hotel maid. He is expected to resign soon. Guys who can't get bail aren't much use when it comes to bailing out others, after all, and propping up debt-soaked states like Greece, Ireland and Portugal is what the IMF does nowadays.

    That said, if you're waiting for Strauss-Kahn's fall to throw a wrench into Europe's extend-and-pretend machine, you're probably going to be waiting a long time.

    Bailout decisions "are ultimately a European political question," says Jacob Funk Kirkegaard of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. "The working relationship between those countries and the IMF is so entrenched at this point that it's hard to imagine this causing much more than a hiccup."

    The bigger impact of Saturday's alleged incident lies in the shift of economic leadership from the debt-soaked West to the emerging East – an accelerating trend that is almost certain to manifest itself in who gets chosen to pick up the pieces left by Strauss-Kahn.

    The head of the IMF traditionally comes from Europe, just as the head of the World Bank has hailed from the United States. But the developing countries whose expansion now accounts for the lion's share of economic growth have been chafed by their exclusion from those roles -- and this weekend's events are going to make upholding those traditions, such as they are, that much more difficult.

    "Only a truly exceptional European candidate can have the credibility to replace Strauss-Kahn," says Kirkegaard. "The changes in the world economy mean the IMF needs to be truly global, and that has implications for who takes over next."

    He views the sole plausible European candidate as Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister. She has "unique qualifications," including potentially being the first woman in an office that up till now has been held only by men.

    But developing countries led by China, India and Brazil now have an opportunity, if they can settle on a suitable nominee, to wrest leadership from the West.

    Kirkegaard says the top IMF candidates from the developing world include Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who is Singapore's finance minister, Kemal Dervis, a Turk who is at the Brookings Institution, and Augustin Carstens, who runs the Bank of Mexico.

    "Of course, you have the question if a candidate backed by China would ever be acceptable toIndia, and vice versa," says Kirkegaard. "The onus is on them to find someone they can unite behind."

    The IMF chief's job isn't the only one that's going to be open. The No. 2 post at the fund, currently held by American John Lipsky, will be up for grabs in August, after Lipsky departs, and the World Bank chairmanship held now by American Robert Zoellick will soon open up as well.

    The internationalization of international finance institutions is inevitable, of course. If Westerners are expecting Brazil and China to pick up the slack for our weak economies, we will have to give up something in return.

    Now the question is whether the emerging countries handle this opportunity better than they dealt with the commodity price surge that started last fall. Brazil and especially China had a huge role in that affair – yet they unsportingly chose to point the finger at Ben Bernanke.

    That sounds more like the nonsense you hear out of Congress than the actions of leaders ready to take a whirl at the helm of the global economy. With any luck they will do better this time.

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