The global financial crisis continues to live up to its name.
What burned bright in the U.S. in 2008-2009 is now center stage in Europe, where the threat of economic downturns and sovereign defaults from the PIIGS — throughout Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain have reached a boiling point.
Given the scope of the crisis, a supra-national organization — namely the International Monetary Fund, backed by the World Bank — is expected to lead.
With the ability to provide million-billion dollar aid packages and monitor their implementation, the IMF plays a key role in global bailouts. Right now, however, the role — at least in dollar amounts — is a supporting one. The Fund provided only 30 billion of the 110-billion Euro aid package to Greece, with the bulk coming from European Union coffers.
Perhaps too early to compare — but in its heyday, the IMF was credited with alleviating past financial crises — most notably in Mexico in the 1980s, and the Asian contagion of 1997. Has the IGO been helpful this time around?