Henry Farrell on a European Monetary Fund

Here is one bit:

The IMF usually has maximal bargaining power at a country’s moment of crisis – it typically cares far less about whether the country makes it through than the country itself does, and hence can extract harsh conditions in return for aid. But – as we have seen with the Greek crisis – EU member states are far less able to simulate indifference when one of their own is in real trouble, both because member states are clubby, involved in iterated bargains etc, and because any real crisis is likely to be highly contagious (especially within the eurozone). In other words, the bargaining power of other EU member states (and of any purported EMF) is quite limited. If Greece really starts going down the tubes, Germany faces the unpalatable choice of either helping out or abandoning the system that it, more than any other member state, created. In short – any EMF, unlike the IMF, needs (a) to concentrate on preventing countries getting into trouble rather than dealing with them when they are already in trouble, and (b) deal with the fact that any country in trouble likely has significant clout in the architecture overseeing it.


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