IMF History and Structural Adjustment
The International Monetary Fund was established,
along with the World Bank, at a conference in Bretton Woods, New
Hampshire, USA, in the closing stages of World War II. The participants
represented the governments soon to win the war against fascism.
They were concerned about the rebuilding of Europe and of the global
economic system after a devastating war.
The key debate at Bretton Woods was between the
British and US delegations representing, respectively, liberal
and conservative visions of global economic institutions. The British
delegation, led by Maynard Keynes, imagined that the new IMF should
be a cooperative fund which member states could draw upon to maintain
economic activity and employment through periodic crises. This
view suggested an IMF helping governments to act as the US government
had during the New Deal in response to the great recession of the
By contrast, the US delegation to Bretton Woods
foresaw an IMF more like a bank, making sure that borrowing states
could repay their debts on time. This more conservative view was
less concerned to avoid recession and unemployment. The US view
prevailed, and set the stage for how economic crises have been
handled since World War II (Harris 1988).
Since the Second World War, the International
Monetary Fund has provided loans to governments facing economic
crises. The loans have come to be known as structural adjustment loans
because they aim to help borrowing governments adjust the structure of economic activity.
The presence of the IMF as an international lending
institution continues to evolve with the changing conditions of
globalization. Most recently the IMF has begun to focus its policy-making
stratgies to incorporate poverty reduction policies in addition
to creating economic stability (New Generation
Pictured above: The
headquarters of the International Monetary Fund.
To the left: The
Executive Board of the IMF. Consisting of 24 member countries. Of which 16 seats are elected for
two-year terms. The
United States, Japan, France, United Kingdom, Germany, China,
Russia and Saudi Arabia have permanent seats.
Early History of the International Monetary Fund, http://www.imfsite.org/origins/early.html
Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Monetary_Fund#Leaders_of_the_IMF
IMF photos can be found at: http://www.imf.org/external/np/adm/pictures/captions.htm