Of Quota Reform and American IMF Hegemony

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 2/17/2013 05:16:00 AM
Two things strike me as notable with the recent news that the US plans to finalize changes in the shares of quotas at the IMF and thus the voting rights there:

1. Given that the US has effective veto power at the IMF by virtue of having more than 15% of quota shares when a quorum of 85% is necessary to make a decision, it alone has the ability to unblock the quota reform process which remained deadlocked during the 2012 presidential elections at a time when it has become by far the world's largest debtor:
The Obama administration is hoping to move ahead shortly with legislation to finalize IMF voting reforms agreed in 2010, which will make China the third-largest voting member in the global financial institution, a senior U.S. official said on Saturday. The official, speaking at the end of a Group of 20 meeting of finance ministers in Moscow, said the administration was actively discussing legislation with relevant members of Congress.

The 2010 package cannot be finalized until it gets the go-ahead from the United States, which has effective veto power over the historic deal that was meant to have been approved by all IMF member countries in October last year, but was stalled by the U.S. presidential election.
2. For all the hullabaloo about China becoming the IMF's third-largest shareholder and giving LDCs more of a voice in the institution, its head remains a European by tradition. What's more, the ultimate percentage of quotas shifted from developed countries to developing countries is actually not all that large at--wait for it--a 6% realignment:
This completes the 14th General Review of Quotas with an unprecedented doubling of quotas and a major realignment of quota shares—a shift of more than 6 percent from over-represented to under-represented members and a more than 6 percent quota shift to dynamic emerging market and developing countries. 
Why does it take so much time to accomplish relatively little?