This chapter discusses some of the core areas of debate, consensus and disagreements on the new International financial architecture. To critics, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is a Bretton Woods relic incapable of playing a constructive role in the building of the new International financial architecture. While its harshest critics want the IMF altogether abolished, others are prepared to live with a severely restricted institution with limited powers and resources. Despite the fact that the IMF made mistakes in dealing with the Asian crisis, this should not invalidate the rationale for having a universally representative institution to oversee the implementation of collectively agreed rules. The Asian countries hardest hit by the crisis had all pursued dive. During the height of the Asian crisis, the Malaysian government dramatically challenged the prevailing wisdom and imposed capital controls by bringing the issue to the forefront of economic policy debates.
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This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book presents the case studies of the individual countries: Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea and the People's Republic of China (PRC). It examines the factors behind the financial crisis and highlights the underlying similarities and the fundamental differences between the individual cases. The book provides a review of the competing perspectives on the new international financial architecture. It explains a number of fundamental issues and its implications for the emerging market economies. The book also presents a more nuanced picture of the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) policies and its socioeconomic impact. It assesses the IMF's efforts to reduce moral hazard. The book also examines the reasons behind Asia's remarkable economic recovery and the challenges that lie ahead.