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The contest for the top job at the International Monetary Fund will provide part of the answer to an ongoing question that has accompanied the rise of the world's emerging powers: geopolitically speaking, what do they want? The IMF search may reveal that the world's top emerging-market countries are serious about securing a place at the global top table -- or it may show that anonymous seats in the outer circle are all they are after for now.
The IMF has been run by a European ever since its creation in 1946, part of a deal in which the United States has been free to choose the president of the IMF's sister institution, the World Bank. Over the past decade, if not longer, there have been murmurs of revolt against this anachronistic entitlement. When the top job changed hands in 2000, for example, the IMF's American deputy managing director, Stanley Fischer, made