It's not just Osborne's track record that should raise doubts. Appointing a European would be out of step with global economic shiftsby Michael Kitson / July 8, 2019 / Leave a comment
George Osborne, the former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, is touting himself as the next head of the International Monetary Fund. He is hoping to fill the forthcoming vacancy as the current managing director, Christine Lagarde has been nominated to be the next president of the European Central Bank.
According to the Financial Times, Osborne told friends that the IMF requires a “skilled political communicator and operator … not a technocrat.” But Osborne’s interest in running one of the world’s most powerful international organisations has been met with widespread criticism from across the political spectrum and among professional economists over his record at the helm of the UK economy.
For example, Danny Blanchflower, a former member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee, described Osborne as the worst UK chancellor in 300 years.
On a superficial level, Osborne is well qualified to lead the IMF. First, as a European he passes the nationality test. The World Bank and the IMF stitch up their top jobs so that the president of the bank is decided by the United States and the managing director of the IMF is a European. It’s one of the traditions of international economic governance.
Second, Osborne’s economic philosophy, as shown in his role as the architect of austerity in the UK, is closely aligned with the IMF’s. The fund’s traditional core belief is that there should be minimal state intervention in the economy and that countries that receive financial help are required to implement privatisation, deregulation and other pro-market policies.
Digging deeper into Osborne’s job application, however, shows that he does not tick all the boxes. According to the IMF’s selection criteria: “The successful candidate for the position of Managing Director will have a distinguished record in economic policymaking at senior levels.”
The main distinguishing feature of Osborne’s policy record was presiding over the worst economic recovery in British history since the Industrial Revolution. Osborne was a passionate advocate of austerity policies which led to a retrenchment of the state at exactly the time when the UK economy needed a fiscal boost.
Masked by the need for “prudence,” Osborne’s uncompromising approach to cutting public spending in an ideological bid to reduce the deficit and national debt led to depressed output…