Can the IMF play supercop?
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Can the IMF play supercop?

Must the IMF grow in size just to stomach the next bail-out, or should it reinvent itself as a tougher, global rating agency of countries and their banking systems? Such an IMF would not whisper advice into the ear of crony capitalists and then pay off their creditors - it would be a lean, mean agent of transparency and would deal out pain where pain is due. James Smalhout reports.

Global capital turns nasty

Too many risks, too few rewards

Capitalism and serfdom

The spectre of intervention

Throwing good money after bad

A breathing space for the IMF

If the IMF were a banker it would be unemployed. Battered and threadbare, 52 years old, it was created for and some would say still lives in a world that is long gone. Its coffers are empty. Several powerful department heads are preparing to retire. And turnover has been heavy among the few younger Fund staffers qualified to transfer to today's fast-moving capital markets.

Whether or not the IMF gets the $90 billion it needs in fresh capital from governments around the world, what the Fund does, when and how, are crucial questions for the global financial system. And plenty of heavyweights are pitching in with their views.

Henry Kaufman, president of the New York-based financial advisory firm which bears his name, is one who thinks that the time has come for a new Bretton Woods meeting to reform and modernize the IMF and the World Bank. Kaufman suspects that the hesitation on the part of the US is based on a fear that it may not have the same dominant role with the restructured institutions that it has today.

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