Friday, April 22, 2011

Sakong Il a good candidate to run the IMF?

The Korea Times op-ed staff seems to think so. There may be reservations, though:
He has a few barriers to running the Bretton Woods institution, and must get endorsement from the United States and the EU. Another hurdle is UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Other countries could believe that it is not desirable for Koreans to head both the UN and the IMF.

Picking a European as IMF head may be discomforting with the bloc in a deep economic malaise. Will member countries be willing to accept IMF policy recommendations from a European leader when the European economy itself is in trouble?

The United States and Europe desperately need the support of cash-rich China to power the global economy. Beijing may be more sympathetic to a non-European IMF leader than to a European head. It may also know that it has limits in installing a Chinese IMF leader. Its alternative might be an East Asian like SaKong who can better represent the views of the emerging member countries. Unlike former British Premier Gordon Brown, SaKong may enjoy a bipartisan support in Korea for his candidacy.
Maybe it's just me, but KT analysis always has this just-pulled-out-of-my-hangmun feeling to it. I mean, all this speculation may be about as valid as two newbie English teachers deciphering what their academic director is saying to the head custodian.

Anyhoo, if a Korean heads the IMF, I wonder if the kimcheerleaders will have to rethink the "IMF era" label.

Frankly, I don't mind that pejorative label so much, as a lot of the IMF-mandated "reforms" apparently really did make things worse than they otherwise might have been. And it makes for the nice little "I am fired" joke, or its variant, "I am f---ed."


  1. "kimcheerleaders"

    I just about spurt my coffee on my poor laptop. Thanks for the laugh.

    PS: and I cant wait for Koreans to call you racist for using this term! Kushibo you Western racist! (Im being sarcastic ;)

  2. I wish I could take credit for cheerleader, but I can't. While it did occur to me independently, I quickly noticed that other people were using it ahead of me. (Grating minds think alike?)

    I will, however, take full credit for kvetchpat.

    It is funny (strange funny, not usually ha-ha funny) that kvetchpats see me as a kimcheerleader, while some SoKos who come to my blog see me as a Japanese apologist, a Korea basher, etc., etc.


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