I attended a talk by Mervyn King, who is Governer of Bank of England, in Delhi. The talk, which was organised by ICRIER, was titled Reform of the IMF. The pdf file of appeared on the Bank of England website. It was fun. It was delightful hearing sharp and modern economics from an employee of a government! I admire the human capital that the UK is able to bring into economic policy. The Bank of England reform is amazing, and so are the humans of that story, such as Mervyn King, Charlie Bean, and Charles Goodhart.
As the old job of the IMF (to periodically bail out countries with a pegged exchange rate which get into trouble) has become redundant in a world with floating exchange rates and open capital accounts, many people have started pondering how to do an IMF differently.
One famous set of ideas on IMF reform has come from Charles Calomiris and Allan Meltzer. Mervyn King's ideas are more radical. He envisages an IMF that shifts into tasks of data, research and meetings. As he describes it, the only instruments that the reformed IMF should have should be the powers of analysis, persuasion and ``ruthless truth-telling''. I think it makes a lot of sense. Yesterday's Business Standard had an excellent editorial on this.