Reweighting the IMF Vote


A friend wrote to me:

"I am all for readjusting the world institutions to reflect new balance of power. the problem is are these countries ready to lead and other ready to follow. yes India and China and Brazil have big economies but will they contribute to the fund on focus on their daunting domestic problems? Do they have a viable plan or are they just interested in rejecting the US plan to show their muscle? Can their marshal the world behind them – is the world ready to follow the Indian or Chinese plan for development?"

My thinking:

They are ready to free-ride and play spoiler – just like the EU and most of NATO. Why do anything else? Why not ride a declining hegemon – if that is what we are – right into the ground? That is what we did with the Brits from 1914-45, that is what the euros did in the 70s (when folks like Kissinger said the world had become multipolar after Vietnam and they euros still walked away from burden-sharing), and the Japanese did in the 70s-80s even after they hardly needed preferential US market access anymore. I expect nothing from the Chinese and Indians in terms of world order provision. Hell, the euros can’t even find a few combat brigades and helicopters for Afghanistan, and they’re allies.

Thankfully, any reweighting in the IMF toward Asia will occur at Europe’s expense, not ours. Ironically, the US vote in Bank and Fund is smaller than the US percentage of global GDP. It’s the EU vote that is way oversized. So let the Europeans and Asians fight it out. Its not our concern.

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