Yesterday I said I'd be surprised if the US agreed to let the number 2 job at the IMF go to a non-US candidate, as recommended by Mohamed El-Erian. Today I ran into Stephan Richter at the Aspen Ideas Festival, and he drew my attention to an interesting possibility, which he wrote up earlier for The Globalist: a co-directorate, with Agustin Carstens as deputy director.

The Ideas Report

I don't know whether Carstens would want the job, but the idea does have big advantages both for the US (which would have to agree to it) and for the world order. The US gets a top-class Chicago-trained economist in a key role--a de facto American economist, is how Richter puts it--while retaining a veto over Fund policies through its executive director on the Fund's board. The rest of the world gets an end to the traditional US-Europe stitch-up, and an excellent official at the top of the IMF.

In backing this notion the US could look selfless while shrewdly advancing its interests.