Critical Issues in International Financial Reform addresses weaknesses of the current international financial system and potential beneficial reforms. The focus is on the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, but the authors also take into account relevant lessons from the experience of Canada, a country highly integrated into world and hemispheric trade and financial markets.
Critical Issues offers a new perspective on a discussion too often dominated by interest groups that take strong, even rigid, positions on issues with limited understanding of the technical aspects of the issues, and little concern for the interests of the developing world. Its chapters have been written by experts in the economic, political, and social aspects of the international financial integration of developing countries. Financial crises and their associated social and economic traumas are the most apparent symptom that something is amiss in the process of world economic integration. But there are also broader questions about the nature and magnitude of the benefits and costs of increased international capital flows for different groups of countries in the developing and developed worlds. For example, even in the absence of turbulence, is it optimal for all participants that capital movements be as free as possible? Does capital inflow discourage domestic savings to a degree that should cause worry? Are some types of flows inherently more beneficial than others--for instance, direct investment flows versus flows into host stock markets? How can the instability of capital movements best be curtailed? These questions concern the contributors to this volume.
This volume demonstrates that the evolution of the world financial system, its various problems, and what is or is not done about them require an understanding of the links among financial, economic, and political variables. Critical Issues in International Financial Reform is an important contribution to this debate, and will be of value to researchers in economic policy, history, and international politics.
Albert Berry is professor of economics at the University of Toronto and research director of the Program on Latin America and the Caribbean. Gustavo Indart is special lecturer of economics and the coordinator of the Program on Latin America and the Caribbean at the University of Toronto.