“All of the press has been very nice compared to what is usually in the Israeli press,” said Stanley Fischer yesterday. “But when I was job hunting at MIT, the professors there taught: ‘Don’t accept a nomination you haven’t been offered yet.’” And with that—yes, including that subtle reminder that he was once at MIT, where he was the Ph.D. thesis adviser for N. Gregory Mankiw and Ben Bernanke—the Bank of Israel governor made his first public comment about all the talk that he could be named the next head of the International Monetary Fund.
And he could: Basically, Fischer would need to be seen as a compromise candidate to replace former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn should neither the French front-runner Christine Lagarde nor the Mexican alternative candidate Agustin Carsten garner majority support; the Zambia-born, Americanized Israeli would likely need to be perceived as African, and the IMF’s rule for not granting full terms to those over 65 would need to be waived in the case of the 67-year-old Fischer. But given the run of praise and endorsements he has recently received—from the Economist, Financial Times, and Washington Post, as well as from finance elites, including the head of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development—this is looking more and more likely (or less and less unlikely, anyway). Rarely is economics this exciting!