EYECATCHERS: A Mystic at the IMF

Economists are often accused of indulging in mysticism; in the case of Hendrikus J. Witteveen (pronounced Wit-uh-vain) it is a simple statement of fact. A brilliant academic who twice was Finance Minister of The Netherlands, Witteveen is also a vice president of the Sufi movement, a Muslim sect that is dedicated to mysticism and to meditation.

Last week the modest and withdrawn Witteveen, 52, got a job in which he will have need of inner peace: he was appointed managing director of the 125-country International Monetary Fund. That body must construct a new world financial system to replace the one that...

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