Bad forecasts and grovelling apologies have become standard for the IMF

It’s not what you say but what you do that counts.

Economics is clearly not a science though many would like us to think it is. But with the IMF it is just apology followed by apology for wrong forecasts and bad advice. It smacks of forecasts made to suit a political agenda or just plain incompetence. Based on their track record nothing that is said by Christine Lagarde or the International Monetary Fund that she heads can be taken very seriously. She spends more time apologising than would seem to be healthy.

The latest apology by Christine Lagarde has been called “grovelling”:

‘Do I have to go on my knees?’: grovelling apology from IMF head for incorrect warnings on UK economy

Head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, accepts her organisation’s low growth forecasts for the UK economy were wrong.

Christine Lagarde has asked whether she needs to grovel on her knees before George Osborne over the IMF’s incorrect warnings on the UK economy, as she warned against raising taxes.

“Do I have to go on my knees?” Ms Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund said, when asked whether she has apologised to George Osborne over the fund’s low growth forecasts and calls to adopt a ‘Plan B’ of less austerity – calls the body now accept it got wrong.

In a blow to Ed Miliband, who has called for higher rates of personal taxation and new levies on banks, Ms Lagarde said tax rises are “not recommendable”.

But this is not an isolated incident. Time after time the IMF announces that some country has got its economic policy wrong and warns of dire consequence if the country does not follow the advice of the IMF. Then – a few months later – they admit that the IMF got it wrong. And ususally by then they have caused much misery and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

12th January 2012: Does the EU-IMF Owe Ireland an Apology?

2nd June 2012: IMF apology to Greece after Lagarde remarks – YouTube

3rd January 2013: An amazing mea culpa from the IMF’s chief economist on austerity

6th June 2013: For hard-hit Greeks, IMF mea culpa comes too late

In any normal corporation Christine Lagarde and the IMF’s Chief Economist,  Olivier Blanchard would have been sacked a long time ago. And to think that some are suggesting Christine Lagarde for the top job in the EU only reduces my respect for the IMF and the EU.

 

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