Lagarde and the IMF

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Disappointing but unsurprising that Christine Lagarde has got the top job at the IMF. I don't say this because I thought she was a weak candidate or won't do a good job, By all accounts she is very capable. The sad thing is that even under these extraordinary circumstances, it is business as usual when it comes to running such a critical institution. If this was not the moment to make a break with the old arrangements, and to declare that these positions are no longer filled according to a system of entitlement, one wonders what it will take--especially when such outstanding alternative candidates (Augustin Carstens, Stan Fischer) were in the running.

Arvind Subramanian at the Peterson Institute sums the case up very well.

Mohamed El-Erian gives Lagarde some advice on what to do next. I will be interested to see how one of his suggestions, in particular, fares.

Ms Lagarde should reinforce her commitment to a meritocracy by eliminating other nationality-based appointments. She should start with the replacement for John Lipsky, the fund's first deputy managing director, an American who announced his intention to step down a few days before Mr Strauss-Kahn was arrested. This choice must not be another nationality-based directive - this time from the US.

I'm sure the US expects a quid pro quo for its support of Lagarde. But we'll see. I'd be delighted to be proved wrong.

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Clive Crook is a senior editor of The Atlantic and a columnist for Bloomberg View. He was the Washington columnist for the Financial Times, and before that worked at The Economist for more than 20 years, including 11 years as deputy editor. Crook writes about the intersection of politics and economics. More

Crook writes about the intersection of politics and economics.

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