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Editor's Letter

Global Cooperation—An Uphill Battle

Finance & Development, September 2017, Vol. 54, No. 3

Camilla Lund Andersen

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As access to information burgeons, experts are more crucial than ever

Nemat Shafik

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. 


Opinions expressed in articles and other materials are those of the authors; they do not necessarily reflect IMF policy.