Activities of the IMF

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank managed to draw criticism from the political, left, right and center for their activities and policies. Interestingly enough, the left and right agree on their distaste for some of these policies, although for different reasons. The right worries about measures the IMF institutes as inherently anti-growth, while the left complains that the IMF measures are destructive to the local populations.

During the past year, the IMF has both expressed a new, expanded understanding of its role in the world economy and been involved in attempting to stave off economic collapse throughout Asia. In the following pages, the focus is on exploring some of the more recent criticisms of the IMF, from several different perspectives.

According to conservative, free-market Republicans, the IMF is wrong to provide the Asian bankers and multinationals with bailouts. There are differences between the various stances. For example, Pat Buchanan opposed the bailout because it cost the U.S. taxpayers, which he believed was inevitable with free trade. He also noted that the bailout protected bankers and portfolio managers unjustifiably. They were allowed to take their gains, so they should also have to deal with their losses (Piling on the bailout, 1998).

Many other conservatives, including Jack Kemp, oppose bailouts because they are connected to IMF policies which conservatives believe are inherently anti-growth. For example, the IMF typically forces foreign economies to institute specific fiscal measures, such as tax hikes, which conservatives think of as counterproductive.

One of the problems, according to Adam Zagorin (1998), is that the IMF’s ultimatums place enormous pressure on countries to solve problems rapidly, at the same time that their economies are falling apart. In other words, instead of just bailing out the economies, the IMF demands that the country overhaul major economic …

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