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International Monetary Fund

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The IMF (International Monetary Fund) is an international organization. It is responsible for managing the global financial system and for providing loans to its member states to help alleviate balance of payments[?] problems.

Agreement for its creation came at the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference in Bretton Woods[?], New Hampshire, USA, in 1944; the organisation came into existence in 1946, as part of a post-WWII reconstruction plan, and began financial operations on March 1, 1947. Accordingly, it is sometimes referred to as "a Bretton Woods institution", along with the Bank for International Settlements and the World Bank. Together, these three institutions define the monetary policy shared by almost all countries with market economies. In order to gain access to IMF loans, BIS privilege, and strategic World Bank development loans, a country must normally agree to terms set forth by all three organizations.

The role of these institutions has been controversial among some since the late Cold War period - when critics claimed that IMF policies deliberately bent to support right-wing military dictatorships friendly to American and European corporations, but in general hostile to democracy, human rights, and labor rights. This controversy helped spark the anti-globalization movement. Others say IMF has little power to democratize sovereign states, nor is that its stated objective. However, its advice is intended to promote financial stability, and this may indirectly further democracy. Economic chaos is seldom a good starting point for a stable democracy.

Table of contents

Leaders of the IMF The IMF is headed by a Managing Director:


  • April 2000 -- IMF World Outlook Report[?]
    • "In the recent decades, nearly 20% of the world population has regressed. This is arguably one of the greatest economic failures of the 20th Century."
  • April 2001 -- former World Bank economist Joseph E. Stiglitz
    • "When a nation is down and out, the IMF takes advantage and squeezes the last pound of blood out of them. They turn up the heat until, finally, the whole cauldron blows up. It has condemned people to death." (1 p.50-51)

See also

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