Can This Woman Fix Europe?

IMF chief Christine Lagarde has a plan to prevent reckless banks from ruining the world economy. It's a tough sell

Kim Kyung-Hoon / Reuters

Lagarde, center, at a meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Tokyo. She has led the IMF since 2011.

On a chilly night in March, in a concrete building on the grand Avenue d'IĆ©na in Paris, a silver-haired woman sits at an empty conference table. Most of the offices at the International Monetary Fund are dark, but managing director Christine Lagarde has been on the phone for the past several hours, handling a flurry of calls to try to rescue yet another teetering European economy from collapse. Lagarde turns off the video monitor connecting her to staff at the fund's headquarters in Washington and eases into an armchair to pour a cup of Darjeeling tea, one of her rituals of...

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