This article is a compilation of information from the IMF website. I would appreciate all input anyone has relating to the use of American taxpayers’ dollars that ago to the IMF, particularly when the US is essentially bankrupt. Many such articles could be written on each and everything mentioned.
I am personally opposed to remaining a member of the IMF. Its idea may have been compassionate in the beginning, but at this point I do not see how we can continue taxing people to pay for other nations’ inabilities to care for themselves. However, I will be happy to see counter-arguments as well.
The IMF, also known as the “Fund,” was conceived at a United Nations conference convened in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, United States, in July 1944. The 44 governments represented at that conference sought to build a framework for economic cooperation that would avoid a repetition of the vicious circle of competitive devaluations that had contributed to the Great Depression of the 1930s.
The IMF’s primary purpose is to ensure the stability of the international monetary system—the system of exchange rates and international payments that enables countries (and their citizens) to transact with one other. This system is essential for promoting sustainable economic growth, increasing living standards, and reducing poverty.
Fast Facts on the IMF
Membership: 187 countries
Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
Executive Board: 24 Directors representing countries or groups of countries
Staff: Approximately 2,500 from 160 countries
Total quotas: US$340 billion (as of 1/31/11)
Additional pledged or committed resources: US$600 billion
Loans committed (as of 1/31/11): US$254 billion, of which US$190 billion have not been drawn (see table)
Biggest borrowers (credit outstanding as of 1/31/11): Romania, Ukraine, Greece
Surveillance consultations: Consultations concluded for 120 countries in FY2010 and for 88 countries in FY2011 as of 02/11/11
Technical assistance: Field delivery in FY2010—192.5 person years
Transparency: In 2009, over 90 percent of Article IV and program-related staff reports and policy papers were published
Original aims: Article I of the Articles of Agreement sets out the IMF’s main goals:
promoting international monetary cooperation;
facilitating the expansion and balanced growth of international trade;
promoting exchange stability;
assisting in the establishment of a multilateral system of payments; and
making resources available (with adequate safeguards) to members experiencing balance of payments difficulties
Resources: The IMF’s resources are provided by its member countries, primarily through payment of quotas, which broadly reflect each country’s economic size. At the April 2009 G-20 Summit, world leaders pledged to support a tripling of the IMF’s lending resources from about US$250 billion to US$750 billion. To deliver on this pledge, the current and new participants in the New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB) agreed to expand the NAB to about US$550 billion, which was approved by the Executive Board of the IMF on April 12, 2010. When concluding the 14th General Review of Quotas in December 2010, Governors agreed to double the IMF’s quota resources to approximately US$745 billion and a major realignment of quota shares among members. When the quota increase becomes effective, there will be a corresponding rollback in NAB resources.
How countries are represented is key to the IMF’s legitimacy as an international organization representing the interests of its 187 member countries. Upon joining the IMF, each country is allocated a quota based approximately on the relative size of its economy. The quota determines the country’s financial contribution to the IMF, its voting power, and ability to access IMF financing.
The IMF’s Role in Helping Protect the Most Vulnerable in the Global Crisis
March 31, 2011
In this difficult environment, the IMF is helping governments to protect and even increase social spending, including social assistance. In particular, the IMF is promoting measures to increase spending on, and improve the targeting of, social safety net programs that can mitigate the impact of the crisis on the most vulnerable in society. Below are some examples of how recent IMF-supported programs seek to protect social spending in a way that is both fiscally sustainable and cost-effective.
GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS
To Help Countries Face Crisis, IMF Revamps its Lending
March 24, 2009
IMF announces major overhaul of its lending and conditionality framework
Includes new credit lines for strong-performing economies that need insurance
Revamp complements IMF moves to sharply boost lending capacity
Working to reduce poverty
The IMF is working to prevent millions of people in low-income countries from slipping into poverty as the third wave of the global economic crisis washes up on their shores.
Low-income countries, which are still feeling the effects of the recent food and fuel crisis, have sought the IMF’s help in coping with the effects of the global financial crisis. Although advanced and emerging economies were hit first, low-income countries are now experiencing sharply lower exports, shrinking foreign direct investment, and declining remittances as a result of the global downturn.
Besides providing new concessional financing, policy advice, and technical assistance, the IMF is taking measures to help low-income countries protect spending on health, education, and other critical services.