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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Aurélie Trouvé « Le FMI doit être refondé entièrement »

by Clotilde Mathieu

Aurélie Trouvé: "The IMF needs to be completely reinvented"

Translated Monday 20 June 2011, by Richard Pond and reviewed by Derek Hanson

On Monday Aurélie Trouvé, joint chair of Attac, threw herself into the race for the leadership of the International Monetary Fund. (Applications closed that evening.)

You have taken the alternative to neoliberalism to international "anti-summits". Why are you putting youself forward today for the leadership of the IMF?

Aurélie Trouvé. To start with, it’s to provoke, to sound a warning. The media have paid attention. This candidacy seeks to echo all the democratic yearnings and movements against austerity plans. With the crisis, the G20 has put the IMF back on the rails. Through massive special drawing rights [SDRs or IMF reserves] and austerity politics in Europe, the Fund is putting in place an unprecedented neoliberal policy. It consists of making workers, pensioners and the unemployed pay for the crisis without getting the main culprits to contribute. The banks and the financial world, for their part, are seeing profits go back into full swing. Yet this policy is unjust and economically inefficient. After many months of austerity, Greek debts are only growing. Social regression leads to economic decline, which itself undermines public revenue. With this candidacy we’re showing that another way is possible: stopping the austerity plans, restructuring and partly cancelling the debts. We also need to make the financial world contribute through a tax on financial transactions sufficiently high to release important funds for the struggle against poverty and the degradation of the planet. If we subtracted 0.05% of the total value of financial transactions, that would generate hundreds of billions of euros.

Wouldn’t it be simpler to abolish the IMF?

Aurélie Trouvé. International institutions have an important role. It’s obvious that international coordination is required. Competition serves the hegemony of the richest countries and of those who hold the most capital. It needs to be replaced by institutions that work for solidarity among countries, the social rights of the populations and the preservation of the planet. This is why the IMF needs to be completely reinvented, both in terms of its economic policies and at the same time its governance. The IMF works according to the "one dollar, one vote" principle. The creditor countries hold the essential decision-making power. For instance, a country like the US, which has a huge debt, ignores its decisions. Yet this debt completely endangers international financial stability. There really are two standards, two measures.

Do you think your candidacy could succeed?

Aurélie Trouvé. All the profiles of the candidates presented today have taken part in IMF governance or have interests linked to those of finance. One of the candidates spent ten years or so at Goldman Sachs. Our candidacy is the only one that brings with it an alternative to (neo)liberal policy. We’ve decided to take it all the way: we’ve sent Christine Lagarde an open letter, because our candidacy ought to be submitted by a governor of the IMF. We await her response.

Latin America backs Carstens

Fifteen or so Latin American countries support the candidacy of the Mexican Agustin Carstens for the leadership of the IMF in opposition to the French finance minister, Christine Lagarde, who is simultaneously touring the emerging countries to campaign there. Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Panama, Uruguay, Mexico, Paraguay, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Costa Rica have made announcements to this effect. The position of Brazil will be decisive. Lagarde and Carstens have both paid visits to Brazil in the hope of landing the support of one of the most influential emerging economies.

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