The IMF’s Global Tug-of-War

by Carmen Elena Doroba?

It seems like every other news story about the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reflects (at least in passing on the Fund’s uneven treatment of developed and developing countries. Established at the Bretton Woods conference to oversee the system of fixed exchange rates prevailing in 1944, the Fund’s mission has gradually expanded to promoting economic growth, macro-economic stability, and poverty reduction.

Yet no one seems convinced anymore that the Fund can actually accomplish these goals. To the contrary, many now argue the IMF is a highly politicized organization, biased in its choice of whom to help, how, and how much. For instance, critics argue that Christine Lagarde (current managing director of the IMF) is keen on denying African countries agricultural subsidies as part of the IMF loans conditionality, even though she supports the same measures — labelled ”economic incentives”— when it comes to the EU Common Agricultural Policy and the French farmers.

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