After being arrested in New York for the alleged sexual assault of a hotel maid, the head of the I.M.F., French national Dominique Strauss-Khan, quickly resigned his post. Currently, the world’s most powerful sovereign wealth fund is looking for a replacement. Nobel economics laureate Joseph Stiglitz thinks the current front runner, Christine Lagarde, France’s current economic minister, is a good match for the job: “She has been an outspoken advocate of financial-sector reforms, and has won the respect of all of those with whom she has worked.”
What’s the Big Idea?
Who the I.M.F. should choose to replace Strauss-Khan has opened a debate about the practices of the world’s most powerful financial institutions. Appointments to top posts are typically made behind closed doors with much of the bargaining pre-arranged. The I.M.F. and World Bank are a case in point. Western powers have agreed that the I.M.F. will be headed by a European and the World Bank by an American. Stiglitz calls for more transparency in the appointment process and is encouraged by the public vetting of candidates he currently sees.