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The Long Road to Reform: Current Political Obstacles
to Reforming the International Financial Architecture

Randall D. Germain

Department of Politics
University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Newcastle upon Tyne

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There are three key sets of sets of obstacles associated with reforming the current international financial architecture: 1) epistemic issues concerned with the meaning, purpose and scope of financial regulation; 2) institutional issues concerned with enabling institutions such as the IMF and BIS to work together effectively; and 3) bargaining issues concerned with how to forge or broker a political bargain among the G-7 countries. I style these the obstacles of problem identification, institutional melding, and political resolve, and I argue that they are all ‘political' precisely because each involves making decisions within a context of inadequate knowledge about the key dynamics involved, incomplete information about the scope of the problem, and large asymmetries in the capabilities and resources of the principal public actors. The sheer scale of these obstacles imbues the issue of reform with an explicit political character

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