The OECD in times gone by was the spearhead of economic reform promoting smaller government, free trade, dismantling of industry support (with agriculture always an exception given the protectionism of Europe and Japan).
In more recent times it has focussed on decarbonisation, gender issues (there is a “gender portal” and many lectures about how progress-on-gender-equality-is-too-slow). The OECD is also – probably always was – a proponent of Keynesian stimulus. The present Secretary General is the Mexican socialist José Ángel Gurría.
When Matthias Cormann threw his hat into the ring for the top job, it seemed a long shot. Australia’s Finance Minister was up against several female candidates at a time when it is fashionable to see one at the top. The favourite was Cecilia Malmström, a politician from the small centre right Swedish Liberal Party. She is an advocate for children and combating terrorism through “preventive measures, rather than through confrontation”, and is former European Commissioner for Trade.
Cormann is a solid Liberal, ostensibly fiscally conservative in his job as Finance Minister but without seeing much progress in cutting the fat out of Commonwealth spending. He showed a clear adaptability, one might almost say wokeness, in thanking people for their help in his getting the job. He said, “It is an incredibly exciting opportunity, and there’s a big job to be done to help drive stronger, cleaner, fairer, more inclusive growth.” Cleaner, fairer and more inclusive is the trifecta essential to win the EU and US/Canada vote.
Hopefully Cormann in his statement was being, Henri IV-like in saying that “Paris is worth a mass”. But probably not as he would have had to convince the electors of his bona fides and the institutional structure in place is likely to make him little more than a figurehead. The OECD is likely to continue to be one of a dozen international organisations foisting increased costs onto economies, particularly in pursuit of decarbonisation.