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Can Central Banks be Outsourced?
Issues in Money & Sovereignty
Tuesday, May 11, 2004, 12 noon to 1:00 p.m. (Light lunch to follow)
Please enter through IMF Center, 720 19th St. N.W., Washington, DC

Transcript of the proceedings

This Book Forum is free and open to the public but a RSVP is required. Please send an e-mail to or call (202) 623-5805 if you would like to attend.

Featuring Benjamin J. Cohen, author of The Future of Money (Princeton University Press, 2004), in a roundtable discussion with Kathleen McNamara, Ashoka Mody, Catherine Pattillo, Carmen Reinhart and others.

What is the future of money? Many predict an increase in outsourcing of central banking to a few supra-national bodies and a reduction in the number of currencies. But Cohen contends in his new book that these predictions are wrong. He says "the global population of currencies is set to expand greatly, not contract, making monetary governance more difficult rather than less." Cohen advocates "more active mediation" by the IMF to coordinate the decisions by individual governments on the choice of currency regimes.

This book forum is being held in conjunction with an exhibit Money & Sovereignty developed by the IMF Center and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Through coins and objects, the exhibit tells the story of how nations have used money to communicate political and social messages throughout history.

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Benjamin (Jerry) Cohen, a professor of international political economy at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been described as one who "knows both economics and political science intimately and fuses them skillfully." His books include Organizing the World's Money, In Whose Interest?, and The Geography of Money.

Kathleen McNamara, an associate professor at Georgetown University's Department of Government, is a specialist on the politics of globalization and international finance, particularly the politics of European integration. She is the author of The Currency of Ideas: Monetary Politics in the European Union (Cornell University Press, 1999).

Ashoka Mody (moderator) heads the Financial Studies division in the IMF's Research Department. With Ken Rogoff and others, he recently completed a major study of the evolution and performance of exchange rate regimes (IMF Working Paper 03/243).

Catherine Pattillo is a senior economist in the Macroeconomic Studies division in the IMF's Research Department. She is the author, with Paul Masson, of The Monetary Geography of Africa (Brookings University Press, 2004).

Carmen Reinhart, professor of economics at the University of Maryland, is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and also serves on the editorial board of the American Economic Review. She is known for seminal work on currency issues such as on "fear of floating" (with Guillermo Calvo) and the classification of exchange rate regimes (with Ken Rogoff).