July/August 2011: Real life financial thriller

The international monetary scene remains in thrall to swirling developments that appear to have leapt from the pages of a financial thriller into real life. Shortly after digesting the repercussions of the International Monetary Fund’s then managing director indulging in extra-curricular activities in New York, financial markets are having to grapple with the strong possibility that Greece, a developed country and a member of economic and monetary union (EMU), will default on its debts. Such a thing, we have been assured by the technocrats, could, should and will never happen. But when centrifugal forces bear down on objects that never seemed destined to be in harmonious constellation – on the one hand, a massive block of Greek debt, on the other, an equally immovable volume of obduracy among creditor countries illdisposed to give money to hard-up southerners – there is only one way for the saga to end. The OMFIF Bulletin would dearly like to put the euro story to one side and concentrate on matters of more positive import for the world economy. But we are drawn back to it, partly in a effort to put today’s European upheavals in the context of past periods of strain for world banking and finance.

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