GW students are well aware of the University’s proximity to many of the prominent institutions in global politics, one of these being The International Monetary Fund (IMF), located on G Street. The IMF and GW have been more than just neighbors as GW hosted several events as part of the IMF’s annual spring meetings. During these meetings, thousands of government officials, journalists and academics gathered in Foggy Bottom for discussions on the progress the IMF has made towards its goals of assuring stability in the global economy and assisting in the development of lower income nations.
The forum on April 11 was held in The School of Media & Public Affairs’ Jack Morton Auditorium and focused on the macroeconomics of income inequality and its potential consequences. The forum was presented by CNN en Español and the panel was moderated by the agency’s Gabriela Frias.
The distinguished panel consisted of Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director of the IMF, Guy Ryder, the Director-General of the International Labor Organization, Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International and several University professors. The discussion was focused on two recent IMF publications which linked high income inequality to slower economic growth as well as social strife.
Panelists all had very strong opinions on the subject, and there was never a quiet moment.
“There is no excuse for extreme poverty,” Columbia University professor Jeff Sachs said.
The Forum ended with a question and answer session for the audience. Many questions were directed at Zhu inquiring as to whether eliminating significant income inequality will be a stated goal of the IMF coming out of this year’s spring meetings. This is traditionally an area that the IMF has been quiet on, and is “outside of its legally defined charter,” as professor Tyler Cowen pointed out. Zhu did not give a definite answer but insisted that individual governments should try to limit inequality.