International Institutions ‘Lamentably Deficient’ in Governing Global Economy and Financial System, New CIGI Book Says

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Serious shortcomings and failings are evident in the institutions tasked with addressing the challenges of the post-crisis global economy, says CIGI’s new behind-the-scenes book on how these institutions work.

Off Balance: The Travails of Institutions That Govern the Global Financial System is the latest book from award-winning journalist and author Paul Blustein, who is a senior fellow at The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). The book shows how the global financial crisis that erupted in 2008 cast profound doubt over the effectiveness of the institutions responsible for coordinating a sustained, balanced recovery and preventing future crises.

Based on interviews with scores of policy makers and on thousands of pages of confidential documents that have never been previously disclosed, Off Balance focuses mainly on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Financial Stability Forum (FSF) in the run-up to and early months of the crisis. The weaknesses that Blustein exposes in these and other institutions lead to sobering conclusions about the governability of the global economy.

The wealth of documentary evidence in the book illuminates what Blustein calls "lamentable deficiencies" in global economic institutions: "First, they cannot accurately discern where and how crises are likely to arise; indeed, sometimes they unwittingly take measures that exacerbate vulnerabilities. Second, they do not have the power, and often lack the will, to stop countries from pursuing policies that threaten their neighbours’ stability or even the stability of the entire financial system."

For more information on Off Balance: The Travails of the Institutions That Govern the Global Financial System and to pre-order online, visit

Launch Event:

When: 12 p.m., Friday, October 11, 2013
Who: Author Paul Blustein will discuss his new book Off Balance: The Travails of the Institutions That Govern the Global Financial System, in a conversation with Thomas A. Bernes, CIGI Distinguished Fellow and former director of the IMF’s Independent Evaluation Office, moderated by Steven Pearlstein, Professor of Public and International Affairs, George Mason University, and columnist for The Washington Post.
Where: Michael K. Young Faculty Conference Center, Burns 505, The George Washington University Law School, 2000 H Street NW

RSVP: Jessie Pierce at 202.994.7171 or jppierce(at)law(dot)gwu(dot)edu.

About the author:

Paul Blustein, senior fellow at CIGI, is an economic journalist who covered the IMF during his career as a newspaper reporter and has written two books that focus heavily on the Fund. The first, which chronicled the emerging markets crises of the late 1990s, was The Chastening: Inside the Crisis that Rocked the Global Financial System and Humbled the IMF (PublicAffairs, 2001); the second was And the Money Kept Rolling In (And Out): Wall Street, the IMF, and the Bankrupting of Argentina (PublicAffairs, 2005). Blustein spent much of his career as a staff writer for The Washington Post, including five years as a correspondent in Tokyo, and before that he worked at The Wall Street Journal and Forbes Magazine. He lives in Kamakura, Japan, and in addition to his CIGI affiliation he is a nonresident fellow in the Global Economy and Development Program at the Brookings Institution.

Media Contact:
Declan Kelly, Communications Specialist, CIGI
Tel: 519.885.2444, ext. 7356, Email: dkelly(at)cigionline(dot)org.

The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is an independent, non-partisan think tank on international governance. Led by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics, CIGI supports research, forms networks, advances policy debate and generates ideas for multilateral governance improvements. Conducting an active agenda of research, events and publications, CIGI’s interdisciplinary work includes collaboration with policy, business and academic communities around the world. CIGI was founded in 2001 by Jim Balsillie, then co-CEO of Research In Motion (BlackBerry), and collaborates with and gratefully acknowledges support from a number of strategic partners, in particular the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. For more information, please visit

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Declan Kelly
Centre for International Governance Innovation
+1 (519) 885-2444 7356
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