From Mr Patrick Dransfield.

Sir, Gillian Tett’s call for more ethnographic research into organisations such as the International Monetary Fund that are tasked with reacting to global financial risk certainly struck a chord with me (“A rare peek at the tribal nature of our global bureaucracies”, Comment, July 19).

I was at the periphery of the Asian Development Bank’s 31st annual board of governors’ meeting in Chiang Mai in 2000 the morning that preceded what later became known as the Chiang Mai accord – a multilateral currency swap arrangement involving Asean countries, China, Japan and South Korea.

As a publisher for Euromoney (and having studied anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London), I was most definitely an outsider.

However, that would not have precluded me from joining the seemingly itinerant gaggle of dark-suited men as they wandered into a small side room, summoned by the flutterings of a grey-haired ADB apparatchik, at what clearly was an ad hoc meeting.

Being a Sunday morning to boot, this definitely was a gathering of whomever happened to be around at the time. From such acorns mighty oaks do grow, I guess.

But perhaps if more structure and notice had been applied in the first instance, the full Chiang Mai accord may not have taken a full decade to come to fruition?

Patrick Dransfield, Kowloon, Hong Kong

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