The Managing Director of the IMF praised US innovation and economic leadership of the post-World War 2 world in a speech titled “Age of Ingenuity: Reimagining 21st Century International Cooperation” - the latest in the prestigious Kissinger Lecture series at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC Tuesday (December 4).
Lagarde outlined how the creation of the IMF by the US and its allies at Bretton Woods was one of the initial sparks to a golden age of cooperation and collaboration that has led to the greatest period of economic growth and prosperity the world has ever seen.
“This country challenged the international economic order when it needed challenging. It forged compromise when compromise was necessary. Why? Why did it do all that, benevolence? It did so Because a stronger and more stable world paid dividends for the United States,“ she told the assembled audience of US congress people and officials.
She praised the role of the United States in challenging the system in the past, and called on the US to renew its commitment to working with partners to tackle the greatest challenges, such as climate change, growing inequality and improving the fairness and rules-based open trade system.
“More than ever before, as was seen in 2008, what happens in one nation can impact all nations. Think about it: From weapons of mass destruction, to cyber-security, to the interconnected financial system, many of our current challenges do not recognize borders. So, when support for international cooperation falters, we must remember the lesson the United States and her allies taught the world over the last 75 years: It’s a big lesson - Solidarity is self-interest. “
Lagarde particularly pointed out her vision of a way forward by focusing on key areas of international cooperation – trade, international tax, climate and addressing corruption.
She also said she had seen progress on trade at the G20 leader’s summit in Buenos Aires last weekend.
“I have been saying for some time now that we need to “fix the system.” More recently I have been urging countries to “de-escalate” trade tensions. It was encouraging to see some progress on this front at the G20 over the weekend in Buenos Aires. And we must continue the de-escalation, while at the same time improving the trading system for the future.”