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한국개발연구. Vol. 32, No. 4, December 2010, pp. 153-195

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International Monetary System Reform and the G20

Yoon Je Cho

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The recent global financial crisis has been the outcome of, among other things, the mismatch between institutions and the reality of the market in the current global financial system. The International financial institutions (IFIs) that were designed more than 60 years ago can no longer effectively meet the challenges posed by the current global economy. While the global financial market has become integrated like a single market, there is no international lender of last resort or global regulatory body. There also has been a rapid shift in the weight of economic power. The share of the Group of 7 (G7) countries in global gross domestic product (GDP) fell and the share of emerging market economies increased rapidly. Therefore, the tasks facing us today are: (i) to reform the IFIs –mandate, resources, management, and governance structure; (ii) to reform the system such as the international monetary system (IMS), and regulatory framework of the global financial system; and (iii) to reform global economic governance. The main focus of this paper will be the IMS reform and the role of the Group of Twenty (G20) summit meetings. The current IMS problems can be summarized as follows. First, the demand for foreign reserve accumulation has been increasing despite the movement from fixed exchange rate regimes to floating rate regimes some 40 years ago. Second, this increasing demand for foreign reserves has been concentrated in US dollar assets, especially public securities. Third, as the IMS relies too heavily on the supply of currency issued by a center country (the US), it gives an exorbitant privilege to this country, which can issue Treasury bills at the lowest possible interest rate in the international capital market. Fourth, as a related problem, the global financial system depends too heavily on the center country’s ability to maintain the stability of the value of its currency and strength of its own financial system. Fifth, international capital flows have been distorted in the current IMS, from EMEs and developing countries where the productivity of capital investment is higher, to advanced economies, especially the US, where the return to capital investment is lower. Given these problems, there have been various proposals to reform the current IMS. They can be grouped into two: demand-side and supply-side reform. The key in the former is how to reduce the widespread strong demand for foreign reserve holdings among EMEs. There have been several proposals to reduce the self-insurance motivation. They include third-party insurance and the expansion of the opportunity to borrow from a global and regional reserve pool, or access to global lender of last resort (or something similar). However, the first option would be too costly. That leads us to the second option–building a stronger globalfinancial safety net. Discussions on supply-side reform of the IMS focus on how to diversify the supply of international reserve currency. The proposals include moving to a multiple currency system; increased allocation and wider use of special drawing rights (SDR); and creating a new global reserve currency. A key question is whether diversification should be encouraged among suitable existing currencies, or if it should be sought more with global reserve assets, acting as a complement or even substitute to existing ones. Each proposal has its pros and cons; they also face trade-offs between desirability and political feasibility.


국제통화제도(International Monetary System), 환율제도(Exchange Rate System), 무역수지 불균형(Global Imbalance), 국제정책공조(Global Economic Governance), 주요 20국 정상회의(G20, International Policy Coordination)

JEL Code

F40, F41, F42

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