Saturday 20 January 2018

Marc Coleman: Let down by IMF Croke Park cop-out

The institution used to be known for its hard stance on public-sector waste, so why heap praise on deal's vague figures, asks Marc Coleman

I have always wanted to believe that Joe Stiglitz was wrong about the IMF. Insensitive to the weak, pandering to the strong and blind to vested interests: these are some of insinuations made by Stiglitz against the IMF in his book Globalisation and its Discontents.

Some say Stiglitz is motivated by personal spleen: an old gripe from his days as chief economist of the IMF's main rival, the World Bank.

But from riots and coups to poverty and starvation, serious charges have been laid at the IMF's door, and not just by Stiglitz. For many, an image of black suits, black briefcases and matrix sunglasses sums up a body they see as indifferent, efficient and cold. That image appeared to change of late. As well as her feminine warmth, new IMF director general Christine Lagarde is a good friend of Ireland. And Ajai Chopra's bedside manner is endearing.

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