Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, visits LinkedIn Studios to weigh in on the financial vulnerabilities the world is facing, and how to address high economic inequality, low productivity growth, population aging, and gender gaps.
"I had a chance to stop by the impressively high-tech LinkedIn studios and chat with Dan Roth about some of these topics and many more. Here are some highlights from our conversation.
"We started with the state of the global economy, which is at the core of what my job at the IMF is all about. Although there are pockets of uncertainty on the horizon, we at the Fund are now seeing a much stronger momentum for recovery and therefore we are revising our global growth forecast upwards. This is a positive indicator and it tells us that the recovery is more secure than it has been in many years.
"Discussing the issue of corruption and how it impacts the economy, I mentioned that corruption flourishes in the dark, in the shadows. What is different now compared to years ago is that there is more data available, more whistle-blowing, and we all have better access to things that were deliberately hidden before. The IMF has been addressing issues of tax evasion and corruption in countries for many years, helping them to build legal frameworks that can reduce the incidence of corruption. The growing availability of data and the increased access to information is pushing us to look even more closely at this issue than in the past.
"There are other areas of great interest for us, as they become critical for the health of the global economy. Fintech is one of them. I see fintech as a sort of “bag,” inside which you find the “fintechs for good” and the “fintechs for bad.” On the latter, countries need to stay on top of the risks that may come with technological advances in finance. It should be a common endeavor between private sector, innovators, disrupters, and authorities to make sure that all innovations operate with minimum risk to people. We are doing our part: we have a group of fintech experts within the IMF and we have created a great forum where we can convene the various operators in order to see what is the best way to both take advantage of fintech and guard against its risks.
"I also talked with Dan about gender equality issues, in particular the importance of gender budgeting. We discussed how critical it is that budgets reflect the gender parity priorities of a country. When a government decides that it wants more women in the workforce, it needs to identify which measures in each ministry will be conducive to this goal and assign funding to them. Take, for example, measures such as making sure that there are enough child care centers and that they are properly financed, or a provision that expands child care centers' opening hours."