In this policy brief, Paul Blustein highlights key points from his newly published book, Off Balance: The Travails of Institutions That Govern the Global Financial System, which provides a detailed look at the inner workings of the International Monetary Fund and Financial Stability Board during the run-up to and early months of the global financial crisis. Blustein's research, which included interviews with scores of policy makers and examination of thousands of pages of confidential documents — memos, emails, meeting notes and transcripts — to which he obtained exclusive access, points to dispiriting conclusions about the ability of these institutions and the world’s major countries to coordinate the policies necessary to generate a balanced, sustainable global recovery and prevent future crises, and lays bare the institutions’ chief weaknesses: they are unable to accurately discern where and how crises are likely to arise; and they lack the power, and often the will, to stop countries from pursuing policies that threaten financial stability.

  • Paul Blustein is a CIGI senior fellow. An award-winning journalist and author, he has written extensively about international economics, trade and financial crises.