The political influence in the international financial system

This article assesses the impact of sovereign countries in global financial governance. It uses the methodology of international political economy that studies the interaction between political and economic processes in the international arena. It shows the dualistic nature of international financial institutions, which, on the one hand, represent intergovernmental organizations and, on the other hand, are financial institutions with financial goals. The author investigates the principles of sovereign equality, equitable geographical representation and equal (parity) representation of groups of countries with distinct interests in the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Group of 20 (G20) and Financial Stability Board (FSB). The IMF's decision-making mechanism is shown in detail, including its executive board and the recent redistribution of quotas among member states, with special attention on the formula for calculating quotas, its criticism and possible reform. The article shows the major causes of reducing the impact of the IMF and the formation of a new, globally distributed system of financial governance. The article shows the hierarchy (by function as well as by country representativeness) of the system of global financial governance, established by 2010. It discusses the leadership of countries according to quantity and to key indicators (revenues, assets and market capitalization) of global systemically important financial institutions (banks and insurance company). Based on countries' membership in the G7 and the G20, the FSB, IMF, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and Bank for International Settlements countries are designated as at the core, semi-periphery or periphery of the international financial system in the context of the world systems theory. The influence of the technical elite, prevailing in the international financial sector, as well as the qualitative composition (education) of its members are revealed. The article concludes that there is significant polarization in the international financial system (core and the socalled marginal majority). Unlike the IMF, the newly created global financial institutions of the G20 and FSB fully comply with the principles of equitable geographical representation and parity representation of states with distinct interests.

National Research University Higher School of Economics
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  • 1 Department of Theory and History of International Relations, RUDN-University, 6 Mikhluho-Maklaya Street, Moscow, 117198, Russian Federation
  • 2 Department of World Economy, MGIMO, 76 Vernadskogo Avenue, Moscow, 119154, Russian Federation
Financial Stability Board (FSB); Global governance; Group of 20 (G20); International financial institutions; International Monetary Fund (IMF); International political economy; Political influence; Voice and vote reform
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