SAVING OPERATIONS CHAMPION HAS REGIGNED
August 31 was the last day in office of Stanley Fischer at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The First Deputy Managing Director of the IMF resigned with dignity not only because he succeeded to vindicate the activities of the international financial institution, but also because he proposed a new manner for the Fund's responding to future financial crises.
Mr. Fischer has been closely related to all significant saving measures - worth billions of US dollars - which the IMF has applied in recent years to the developing countries in straitened circumstances. When he left thҐ Massachusetts Institute of Technologies in 1995 and joined the IMF, Mr. Fischer was just in time for the financial crises in Mexico, Asia, and Russia. And the events in Brazil in the end of 2000 and in Turkey in the beginning of 2001, put to the test Fischer's legendary working capacities, for which his colleagues nicknamed him the dervish-whipping-top. During his last days in office as IMF's First Deputy Managing Director Mr. Fischer negotiated the consecutive urgent financial aid for Argentina.
However, the saving operations, with which the names of Stanley Fischer and of USA's former finance ministers Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers were connected, were severely criticized by USA's new Finance Minister Paul O'Neil. As soon as he assumed the post, Mr. O'Neil stated that the epoch of large credit injections has come to an end. Argentina was the most controversial point regarding IMF's policies. Indeed, the country managed to cope with inflation, but it was at the cost of a currency board arrangement, introduced in 1991 on IMF's recommendation, under which the national currency was pegged to the US dollar. Mr. Fischer describes the recent crisis in that country as old-fashioned and provoked by the fixed exchange rate. Moreover, he acknowledged he had changed his own stance on the matter and said he would recommend all countries in a currency board to go out of it in good time in order to avoid the arranegment's compulsory revocation, forced by a new financial collapse.
IMF's former First Deputy Managing Director is already considering his future plans. He will most probably prefer academic studies, consulting services, or work in the private sector. According to rumour in Washington, the investment bank Goldman Sachs has already hired him. But economic observers believe the World Bank is the most appropriate place for Stanley Fischer, who enjoys to be in the centre of politcal debates and is extremely popular in the developing countries.