As Christine Lagarde takes office this week she has been playing up the angle that, because she is a woman, change is coming to the IMF. Of course, Lagarde is the first woman to head the Fund, but she is also the 11th white European (out of 11 total) to have the role, and the 5th French national to head the institution. Since 1978, the IMF has been run by a French national for 26 of the last 33 years. I don’t think we can be sure how much change Lagarde will bring to an institution badly in need of a complete overhaul.
After her selection but before taking office Lagarde spoke to French television, saying (as quoted in a widely run Associated Press article):
“While I was being questioned for three hours by 24 men, I thought, ‘It’s good that things are changing a little.'”
Any journalist with any sense of the IMF structures, or the ability to use the Internet to fact check should have been a bit surprised at this statement. Continue reading “Interview with 24 men: little white lie or the US doesn’t care who runs the IMF?”