Faced with changes in the international monetary system, the IMF has enlarged its areas of competence and superimposed its means for action. In doing so, it has been juggling with two approaches to the governance of international monetary affairs. The first has liberal, free-market foundations, and is associated with mutual assistance mechanisms. The second is grounded in the principle of supranational monetary sovereignty. The recent financial crises, which attributed the IMF to the function of being an international lender-of-last-resort, have brought this debate to the fore once again. Were this function organised in a permanent fashion, then it would lead the Fund to taking on the role of a world central bank. This raises questions concerning the IMF's political legitimacy and how its representativeness could be improved.
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