Recent financial crises, whose effects have been particularly severe in developing countries, have led to a wide-ranging debate on international financial reform. This debate has had to confront the implications of the huge growth of international capital movements, one of whose consequences has been the increased 'privatization' of external financing for developing countries. The paper begins with surveys of major features of the postwar evolution of the system of governance of the international financial system and of the principal trends in capital flows to developing countries during the past three decades. These set the stage for a selective review of appropriate policy responses to international financial instability, with the main focus on proposals for remedying structural and institutional weaknesses in the global financial architecture through such means as greater transparency and improved disclosure, strengthened financial regulation and supervision, more comprehensive and even-handed multilateral policy surveillance, and bailing in the private sector by arrangements for orderly debt workouts. In view of the continuing absence of effective measures at the global level for dealing with financial instability, the paper puts special emphasis on the maintenance by developing countries of national autonomy regarding policy towards capital movements.