SDRs and the foul-mouthed IMF parrot

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One clear success from the G20: millions more people have heard of special drawing rights. There are now $250bn worth of them but, understandably, there remains some confusion about what on earth they are.

A colleague on the Lex team aptly described SDRs as the IMF’s “funny money”.

This reminded me of a passage in Denis Healy’s autobiography — involving the IMF, SDRs and a lippy parrot — which definitely passes the funny test.

[The IMF headquarters] was a large high building with an enormous inner atrium. It was said that the previous managing director, a world weary Frenchman called Schweitzer, had kept a parrot in the atrium which he trained to say ‘SDRs — up your ass”. Its words are still echoing there.

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