Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What should a new global risk assessor look like?

Nick Stern writes:

Any forthright, disinterested assessment of the global economic system’s stability requires two sorts of independence. First, the institution making the analysis and judgments must not have anything other than its own reputation riding on its assessment; in particular, its own policies or lending should not be shaped in any way by its judgment. That means it should not have any policy or lending facilities. Thus it cannot be part of the existing international financial institutions (IFIs), all of which are policymaking, governmental or lending institutions.

Second, the institution must be independent of the big countries or parts of the global economic system that might contribute to future instability. Therefore it cannot be subject to interference by the board of the institution. That means that its assessments cannot be part of the IFIs in their current form, or indeed any form that may emerge from reform proposals. The fact is, main shareholders, through their board membership, always interfere in any statement that they think might be interpreted as critical of their country.