By Catherine Bugayong
Catherine is one of AIDemocracy’s 2010-2011 Issue Analysts. Find out more about Catherine below or take a look at the  Student Issue Analysts.

The ongoing economic recession marks a critical time for international financial architecture. The effects of our international financial architecture’s weaknesses have been all too palpable, and promise to fundamentally alter the lives of young people. Jobs after graduation have been scarce, leaving many of us unemployed and underutilized, frustrated and disillusioned. According to the New York Times, the global youth unemployment rate rose an unprecedented 1.1 percent to 13 percent from 2007 to 2009. It is expected to increase in the current year, and for our job recovery to trail that of our parents’.
We also stand to inherit more than $13 trillion in debt, as well as the tricky job of determining how to pay it. The future looks grim and full of “belt-tightening.”
This serves to make the present markedly vital. Policymakers today are assessing and remaking how money moves within and across borders in ways that we might not see again for a long time. If there ever was a time to rewrite how financial institutions conduct their business or how governments spend money, that time is now. Once the economy recovers, the underpinnings of the international financial architecture will not meet with this level of scrutiny again, at least until the next crisis hits.
At work here is a complex group of public institutions, including but not limited to G8 national governments, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. They are all meant to be accountable to you, the citizen. We will be living with the consequences of their decisions for years to come. It is therefore vital to read the news, to vote, and to speak with our representatives. We must remain engaged with our policymakers so that the changes they implement really can create a brighter, more sustainable future.

Catherine Bugayong studied International Studies and Economics at the University of Washington. Her academic interests include (but are not limited to) economic development in Southeast Asia and the Greek debt crisis. As an Issue Analyst on the topic of “international financial architecture,” Catherine looks forward to sharing her enthusiasm for current international events and economics.