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A quarterly magazine of the IMF
  March 2000
Volume 37, Number 1
Michel Camdessus at the IMF

A Retrospective
James M. Boughton
It may be some years until a definitive assessment of Michel Camdessus's unprecedented 13 years as Managing Director can be made. In this article, the IMF's Historian provides a preliminary evaluation.

Latin America and the Caribbean: Reform and Recovery

The Long Road to Financial Stability
Claudio M. Loser and Martine Guerguil
Most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean weathered the economic crises of the late 1990s better than expected, thanks to the policy reforms of the past two decades. Further reform is urgently needed, however, to put the region on a faster growth path and reduce its vulnerability to external shocks.

Argentina's Structural Reforms of the 1990s
Pedro Pou
Argentina experienced serious economic and financial difficulties in the 1980s. Hyperinflation in 1989-90 finally elicited the necessary political consensus for reform. Despite areas of concern, structural reforms implemented in the 1990s have set Argentina on the path to sustained growth.

Monetary Policy During the Transition to a Floating Exchange Rate: Brazil's Recent Experience
Arminio Fraga
The financial crisis that erupted in Asia in 1997 quickly spread to other developing regions, as international investors panicked and pulled their capital out. In this article, the governor of Brazil's central bank outlines the steps Brazil took to avert financial disaster when inflows of private foreign capital suddenly dried up.

Chile in the 1990s: Embracing Development Opportunities
Eduardo Aninat
A review of Chile's recent economic performance shows that, overall, the 1990s were a period of vigorous and unprecedented expansion, with average annual GDP growth of 6.5 percent. While 1999 was a time of economic adjustment after the fallout of the Asian crisis, Chile is now ready to resume healthy growth in 2000 and beyond.

Mexico: Recent Developments, Structural Reforms, and Future Challenges
Jos� Angel Gurr�a
In recent years, the Mexican government has implemented a series of economic reforms to strengthen the country's fundamentals and increase its ability to cope with external shocks. Because of the progress that has been made, the government is confident that Mexico will be able to leave recent crises behind and start the new millennium with a stable and growing economy.

Banking Supervision
Robert Rennhack
Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, like other emerging markets, have experienced banking system difficulties that have hampered growth and generated fiscal costs as high as 10 to 20 percent of GDP and even more. Many countries have improved their banking systems, but further reform is needed.

Poverty Reduction
Nora Lustig and Omar Arias
Although Latin America and the Caribbean reduced the incidence of poverty during the 1990s, population increases and the greater income inequalities that had developed during the 1980s stymied the region's efforts to reduce the number of poor people. How can its policymakers fight poverty most effectively and better protect the poor during economic crises?

Central America: Adjustment and Reforms in the 1990s
Leonardo Cardemil, Juan Carlos Di Tata, and Florencia Frantischek
Following a weak performance in the 1980s, the Central American economies experienced a turnaround in the 1990s as they adopted improved policies within a more stable political environment. Now, how can they best maintain macroeconomic stability, continue structural reforms, and strengthen social policies to maximize rates of economic growth and reduce the incidence of poverty?

The Dollarization Debate
Andrew Berg and Eduardo Borensztein
Full dollarization of the economy is widely discussed as a way of enabling developing countries to overcome monetary and exchange rate instability. What are the costs and benefits of dollarizing, and which developing countries are most likely to benefit?

Other Topics

Is the U.S. Current Account Deficit Sustainable?
Catherine L. Mann
The U.S. current account deficit, driven by the United States' widening trade deficit, is the largest it has ever been, both as a share of the U.S. economy and in dollar terms. How much longer can the United States continue to spend more than it earns and support the resumption of global growth?

The Rise and Fall of Albania's Pyramid Schemes
Christopher Jarvis
During 1996-97, Albania was convulsed by the dramatic rise and collapse of several huge financial pyramid schemes. This article discusses the crisis and the steps other countries can take to prevent similar disasters.

Promoting Orderly and Effective Insolvency Procedures
Sean Hagan
Insolvency laws are still viewed by many merely as mechanisms for cleaning up economic trash. However, they play a far more important role. If effectively designed and implemented, they can boost confidence in an economy, thereby fostering growth and helping to prevent or resolve financial and economic crises.


Letter from the Editor

Book Reviews

Devil Take the Hindmost: A History of Financial Speculation by Edward Chancellor—Charles Kramer

The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas L. Friedman—Ian S. McDonald

Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty by Muhammad Yunus—Paul Streeten

The Future of the Electronic Marketplace edited by Derek Leebaert, and The Weightless World: Strategies for Managing the Digital Economy by Diane Coyle—Dennis Jones

Historical Dictionary of the International Monetary Fund, Second Edition by Norman K. Humphreys—Margaret Garritsen de Vries