The International Monetary Fund IMF is an international organization that aims to promote global economic growth and financial stability, encourage international trade, and reduce poverty. The IMF's website describes its mission as "to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.
The IMF's primary methods for achieving these goals are monitoring, capacity building, and lending. The IMF makes loans to countries that are experiencing economic distress in order to prevent or mitigate financial crises. The IMF collects massive amounts of data on national economies, international trade, and the global economy in aggregate, as well as providing regularly updated economic forecasts at the national and international level.
These forecasts, published in the World Economic Outlook , are accompanied by lengthy discussions of the effect of fiscal, monetary, and trade policies on growth prospects and financial stability. The IMF provides technical assistance, training, and policy advice to member countries through its capacity building programs. These programs include training in data collection and analysis, which feed into the IMF's project of monitoring national and global economies. Members contribute the funds for this lending to a pool based on a quota system. IMF assets are denominated in special drawing rights or SDR, a kind of quasi-currency that is comprised of set proportions of the world's reserve currencies.
IMF funds are often conditional on recipients making reforms to increase their growth potential and financial stability. Structural adjustment programs, as these conditional loans are known, have attracted criticism for exacerbating poverty and reproducing the structures of colonialism.
Since the Bretton Woods system collapsed in the s, the IMF has promoted the system of floating exchange rates , meaning that market forces determine the value of currencies relative to one another.
This system continues to be in place today. Monetary Policy. International Markets.
The IMF and economic management in Kenya
It is not true that foreign capital enhance the formation of national capital and is all invested. A large part of foreign capital rapidly leaves the country where it was temporarily directed, as capital flight and repatriation of profits. Paul Rosenstein-Rodan, who was the assistant director of the Economics Department of the World Bank between and , made another monumental error in predicting the dates when various countries would reach self-sustained growth.
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He reckoned that Colombia would reach that stage by , Yugoslavia by , Argentina and Mexico between and , India in the early s, Pakistan three or four years after India, and the Philippines after What nonsense that has proved to be! Note that this notion of self-sustained growth is commonly used by the World Bank. Development planning as envisaged by the World Bank and US academia amounts to pseudo-scientific deception based on mathematical equations. It is supposed to give legitimacy and credibility to the intention to make the developing countries dependent on obtaining external capital.
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There follows an example, advanced in all seriousness by Max Millikan and Walt W. More nonsense!
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Chenery and Strout laid emphasis on two constraints: first, insufficient internal savings, and then insufficient foreign currency. The currency deficit can thus exceed the savings deficit as the main constraint on development. The Chenery — Strout model is highly mathematical. For its supporters, it had the advantage of conferring an air of scientific credibility upon a policy whose main aims were, firstly, to incite the developing countries to resort to massive external borrowing and foreign investments, and secondly, to subject their development to a dependency on exports.
At the time, the model came under criticism from several quarters. In other words, given a target rate of growth in the developing country, foreign aid will permit higher consumption, and domestic savings will simply be a residual, that is, the difference between desired investment and the amount of foreign aid available.
The wish to incite the developing countries to resort to external aid seen as a means of influencing them. Bilateral aid and World Bank policies are directly related to the political objectives pursued by the USA in its foreign affairs. The more highly a company is leveraged, the higher the risk associated with lending to the company; but higher also are the possible profits that it may realise as compared with its own value.
The volume of loans to developing countries increased at a growing pace throughout the s and s, as the consequence of a deliberate policy on the part of the USA, the governments of other industrialised countries and the Bretton Woods institutions, whose aim was to influence the policies of countries in the South.
Its first mission was to support the new system of standard exchange rates. When the Bretton Wood fixed rates system came to an end in , the main function of the IMF became that of being both policeman and fireman for global capital: it acts as policeman when it enforces its Structural Adjustment Policies and as fireman when it steps in to help out governments in risk of defaulting on debt repayments. As for the World Bank, a weighted voting system operates: depending on the amount paid as contribution by each member state.
The other member countries are divided into groups led by one country. It includes the major industrialized countries and has 34 members as of January This is how other studies by economists directly associated with the World Bank turned to measuring the effective rates of protection of economies and the resulting bias in terms of utilisation of productive resources and of profitability of investments. They favoured redirecting strategies towards exports, abandoning protectionist tariffs, and, more generally, a price-fixing policy more closely related to market mechanisms.
IMF chief warns of slower growth for most countries worldwide
A small export-oriented economy will be able to sell whatever quantity of goods it may produce. More eyewash. The trickle-down effect is a trivial metaphor which has guided the actions of the World Bank from the outset. The idea is simple: the positive effects of growth trickle down, starting from the top, where they benefit the wealthy, until eventually at the bottom a little also reaches the poor.
This means that it is in the interests of the poor that growth should be as strong as possible, if they are to be able to lap up the drops. Indeed, if growth is weak, the rich will keep a larger part than when growth is strong. Growth should be encouraged at all costs so that there is something left for the poor at the end of the cycle. Any policy which holds back growth for the sake of even partial redistribution of wealth or for the sake of protecting the environment reduces the trickle-down effect and harms the poor.
Obviously the trickle-down issue is inseparable from that of inequality, which will be discussed in the next section. From on, the World Bank began to examine the question of inequality in the distribution of income in the developing countries as a factor affecting the chances of development.
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The economics team under the direction of Hollis Chenery gave the matter considerable thought. Chenery did not share Share A unit of ownership interest in a corporation or financial asset, representing one part of the total capital stock. Its owner a shareholder is entitled to receive an equal distribution of any profits distributed a dividend and to attend shareholder meetings. The World Bank was firmly convinced of the need for increased inequality. At best, this approach is considered to be good marketing by J. Wolfensohn president of the World Bank from to and his successor, Paul Wolfowitz.
Eugene Black was president of the World Bank from to Krugman and E. Helpman in the s. Rostow was an influential economist.
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He was also a high-ranking political advisor, becoming advisor to Robert McNamara during the Vietnam War. Some of the notes he addressed to McNamara can be consulted on the Net, dealing with the politico-military strategy to follow with regard to the North Vietnamese and their allies in It is worth mentioning since it highlights once more the political stakes behind the operations of the IMF and the World Bank in countries of the Periphery.
Thus economic policy has to be considered in the light of its political motivation and levers. Rostow claimed that Argentina had already reached the take-off stage before As for the USSR, it was technically ready to reach that stage but first needed to make some adjustments. Soon after, in , the post of vice-president linked to that of chief economist was created for Hollis Chenery by Robert McNamara. Since then, it has become part of the tradition. Chenery served as chief economist and vice-president of the World Bank from to Chenery remains the longest-serving occupant of the post of chief economist.
Previous and later incumbents stayed between 3 and 6 years, according to each case. Ranis, W. Norton, New York, p. Global Development Report Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt.