The IMF Today and Tomorrow

Author:Martin Wolf
Position:Associate editor and chief economics commentator at the Financial Times

To meet future challenges, the IMF must have strong backing from its members

To meet future challenges, the IMF must have strong backing from its members
Martin Wolf
The world is changing. e IMF is changing
with it. e question, however, is not only
how it needs to change if it is to remain rele-
vant. It is also whether the political environment will
allow it to remain relevant. e IMF is built on a com-
mitment to cooperation among member countries.
at commitment is on the wane. But the countries
of the world might rediscover its importance. If so,
they will nd the Fund an invaluable instrument.
e IMF cannot ensure that outcome. But it can,
and must, prepare for it. To its credit, it is doing so.
e world that surrounds the Fund has changed,
or is changing, in several crucial respects.
e rst and most important change is a shift in
global economic, and therefore political, power. In
2000, advanced economies generated 57 percent
of global output, measured by purchasing power
parity. By 2024, according to IMF forecasts, that
share will fall to 37 percent. Meanwhile, China’s
share will jump to 21 percent from 7 percent, and
the rest of emerging Asia will account for 39 percent
of global output, compared with 14 percent for
the United States and 15 percent for the European
Union (see Chart 1).
e second transformation is an increase in great-
power rivalry as relations deteriorate between Western
Today and Tomorrow
“We have come to recognize that
the wisest and most effective way
to protect our national interests is
through international cooperation—
that is to say, through united effort for
the attainment of common goals.”
—US Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, Jr.,
closing address at Bretton Woods Conference,
July 22, 1944
“Protection will lead to great
prosperity and strength.
—US President Donald Trump,
inaugural address, January 20, 2017
“For everything to stay
the same, everything
must change.”
—Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa,
The Leopard

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