Reforming the Global Financial Architecture: Issues and Proposals
Edited by Yilmaz Akyuz
Year Published: 2002
ISBN: 983-9747-70-3
Publishers: UNCTAD, TWN, Zed Books
No of Pages: 156
Price: US$15 (inclusive of postage cost by air mail)

The increased frequency and virulence of international currency and financial crises suggest that instability has become global and systemic. This volume, which embodies the most recent analysis formulated in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), argues that strengthening of institutions and arrangements at the international level is essential if the threat of such crisies is to be reduced and if they are to be better managed when they do occur. Yet its review of recent measures shows how little has been done to establish effective global arrangements that address the main concerns of developing countires. Instead what reform has taken place has emphasized only what should be done by national institutions, and even then has failed to adopt an even-handed approach between debtors and creditors.

The book reviews the initiatives undertaken so far and contrasts them with the kind of measures proposed to address systemic failures and global instability. The proposals draw on the latest ideas being discussed amongst leading economists and embrace four main areas:

* Rules and institutions to set standards and regulate international capital flows;
* The exchange rate system, in particular whether developing countries can both maintain an open capital account and attain exchange rate stability when major reserve currencies are subject to frequent gyrations and misalignments and international capital movements are extremely unstable;
* A more orderly workout with improved mechanisms to resolve the continuing international debt problem;
* Reform of the IMF, especially surveillance, conditionality, the provision of international liquidity, and its potential function as a lender of last resort.

The book concludes with the question of the management of financial crises when they do occur and burden sharing, including the involvement of the private sector.