Journal Issue
Finance and Development, September 2017

Editor’s Letter: Global Cooperation—An Uphill Battle

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Published Date:
September 2017
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Editor’s Letter

Global Cooperation—An Uphill Battle

THIS ISSUE OF F&D looks at what is arguably the clearest challenge the world faces: how to address complex global problems amid growing skepticism about the benefits of multilateralism and continued global integration.

Ten years after the global financial crisis, voter dissatisfaction with rising inequality and lack of meaningful jobs has led some countries to focus on more inward-looking policies. As Princeton professor and IMF historian Harold James points out in his overview of the postwar economic order, this seems to include its main architects—the United Kingdom and the United States. The stakes are high. The changing geopolitical environment could undermine the world’s already limited ability to manage such important issues as global money and trade flows, climate change, international terrorism, money laundering, pandemics, and migration.

International taxation has proved particularly vexing. The inability to agree on a common approach to rethink a framework that dates to the 1920s has allowed multinational companies to exploit tax competition among countries, writes the IMF’s Michael Keen. Tobias Adrian and Aditya Narain, also of the IMF, argue that despite important strides in international regulatory collaboration, calls to roll back some reforms must be resisted to keep the global financial system safe and sound. Fintech, the brave new world of financial services, holds much promise, but provides an even greater regulatory challenge for governments around the world. Finally, with international groups of criminals often two steps ahead of national law enforcement, the terror-crime nexus cannot be fought effectively without stronger international collaboration, argues Douglas Farah of IBI Consultants.

We also focus on health issues that include why investing more in women’s health and education will boost economic development and how in an age of austerity, targeted changes in taxes and subsidies can improve public health without overburdening public budgets.



Global cooperation often feels like a Sisyphean task—as soon as we make progress in one area, we seem to regress in another. Illustrator Michael Waraksa’s September 2017 F&D cover contrasts those who believe in cooperation with those who want to walk away from it.


Saying Goodbye

ON A MORE PERSONAL NOTE, F&D is also not immune to big changes. Marina Primorac, managing editor for the past eight years, will retire from the IMF later this year. Under Marina’s editorial leadership, the magazine has gone from strength to strength. Marina helped position F&D at the forefront of cutting-edge issues and always ensured high-quality editing and layout, including most recently a redesign. She will be sorely missed. We will also be saying goodbye to James Rowe, F&D’s senior editor for the past decade. A former Washington Post economic journalist, Jim would construct and deconstruct articles until he was satisfied we had achieved the highest level of readability and relevance for F&D’s readers. He will be hard to replace.

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