Stock Market

Rajan for new global pact to deal with monetary policy issues

RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan today said the world is facing “increasingly dangerous situation” and a new international agreement on the lines of Bretton Woods is needed to prevent central banks from adopting policies that could hurt other economies.


“What I have in mind (is that we) will eventually require a new international agreement along the lines of Bretton Woods, and some reinterpretation of the mandates of internationally influential central banks,” he said in a commentary posted on the website of Project Syndicate.


He said that central banks in developed countries find “all sorts of ways” to justify their policies, without acknowledging the unmentionable — that the exchange rate may be the primary channel of transmission.


“If so, what we need are monetary rules that prevent a central bank’s domestic mandate from trumping a country’s international responsibility,” Rajan said.


Setting the rules will take time, he said, adding the international community has a choice.


“We can pretend all is well with the global monetary non-system and hope that nothing goes spectacularly wrong. Or we can start building a system fit for the integrated world of the twenty-first century,” Rajan added.


He said the world is facing an increasingly dangerous situation and both advanced and emerging economies need to grow in order to ease domestic political tensions.


“If governments respond by enacting policies that divert growth from other countries, this ‘beggar my neighbour’ tactic will simply foster instability elsewhere. What we need, therefore, are new rules of the game,” Rajan added.


The Bretton Woods conference led to the setting up of IMF, World Bank.


He said to bring growth back to pre-2008 levels, the remedy may be to write down the debt to revive demand.


“It is uncertain whether write-downs are politically feasible or the resulting demand sustainable. Moreover, structural factors like population ageing and low productivity growth — which were previously masked by debt-fuelled demand — may be hampering the recovery,” Rajan said.


Politicians, he said, know that structural reforms — to increase competition, foster innovation, and drive institutional change — are the way to tackle structural impediments to growth.


“But they know that, while the pain from reform is immediate, gains are typically delayed and their beneficiaries uncertain,” Rajan added.