Thursday, July 9, 2015
A heavy regime of time and tour has brought the walking to sew much that a body seems cent,
the foot to a dollar the Neck to a Tapped that arm with a quarter on the Nickel spent belts,
a bag with a tipper Turns in twice zipped,
a tire on the shoes of that lace On deck.
Put forward to that is the eventual on the Curb bits and Clues with staple bought dans,
horror of the switch to that speak on the east Turned Up goes a tongue with Yoke hames a Stroked,
in cobble tile the Skull muller of shoulder duct to ban Ages lore`ing,
tin bones lumbering Hips hopps at the Fletch the Wheat in the Tax`d.
Spreading Fire spanking choir Symphonic or Gasms that rust the Water lust,
the Cuff of the law year to dock Cue meant a brushed,
painting is the While snow of beds that Caught the Thrice`d!!
Is the World sewn to threads and Nails that hemming Stay of tiers,
Piled in the Wed ding Cakes that Weak of cal In deer,
for the frock is dusty the jackets all in Steer cat Toll to that Wetter habit.
Skip Ping Stones on frail Tones a sing of the Blue Jay on My shoulder,
boulders are the rocks A Prison of more than the Method from the Boozed,
in 50's counter a rest Stop plugged that Upping of the sexual,
preference in the 1800's went 1200 in a BC at the ad of that performance of a Marriage to a Hunter,
in Treaty of the Wars on lens Off to that Front with a Stick and a Plates,
yet as the Modern Society kneaded Un in Ploy`d the staff In crease winked to Pleats ; a 'Morrow!!
Hello!! the cot Tin ramped to day the Decade of the In jury with the 60's Whelping Nam,
at that the Haight did LIVE it Dubbed for that Since brought done Jaws,
shark Think tank to Trough of Flew that Chimney of the Cop per Route of Course the loft did supper.
Dinner Out is just the Read to rob Bert on that theater Traditions,
film the scope of blinking Eyes the Valence of the Eyes Wide Shut to Tack the cruise a Living,
round about the Fountains tout to super Charge the edge of To 'morrow on that Mission,
that is the Truth with no the Flute as any Piper can Suit in lot of the Holly would do dent.
A Thigh for the Chicken a bone from the Henge the Tether on the Mountain for the Livery friend,
stable on that is the Valley of the Moo where all do Know the grassy of the stall,
Clover on the Milk King that Movie House be feather Inking up the Closet to sweetest Treasures Honey,
this is the Sugar an Hour of the Cream spooning to the grinding of Coffee in the lunch`d,
oh cell phone of the Screen to long dead from the Theme a batter to the Script a remainder of the Take,
but that is just the Map Other of ANY atlas knew for on that Sigh In tall Oh gee its History before the After Syn Stir`d.
That is to Communicate that 1984 talked a Clear,
the S&P a perfect Spear to rabbit on the lets,
as US be All sew to that state Of whom Wore aye Robot tear Was the tremble back Wards,
Ellis Act Eviction Alert
PNNscholar1 - Posted on 19 January 2014
Ellis Act Eviction Alert
Another San Francisco elder falling prey to the Ellis Act by Eviction by Landlord and Speculators using State law to undermine rent Control.
Another San Francisco senior is being evicted from his long-term rent controlled flat courtesy the state’s predatory Ellis Act. Benito Santigo is a disabled elder and teacher with the San Francisco Unified School District. Mr. Santiago has lived in his Duboce Street flat since 1977. He became disabled due to injuries sustained in an automobile accident in 1980. Despite his physical limitations, he has devoted his time to teaching music to young people with developmental disabilities. In a rental market that has seen a 170% increase in Ellis Act evictions and 38% increase in all evictions in the last 3 years, seniors are particularly vulnerable. Many seniors are long term tenants in rent controlled housing, and, in the case of a high publicized eviction involving the Lee family in the city’s North Beach neighborhood, are evicted by real estate speculators looking to turn a profit by purchasing buildings and flipping them into tenancy in commons’ (TIC’s) in which each unit is sold as a separate mortgage. The other motivation is to convert the units into condominiums.
San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar hosted a recent town hall meeting on the issue of evictions in the District he represents—the Richmond District—District 1. Mr. Santiago spoke at the meeting, along with other long term residents who told of being served eviction notices after their buildings were sold. Many of the speculators that purchase rent controlled buildings are outside of San Francisco, some are located in other states. One senior told of losing his housing and is now homeless, “couch surfing” while trying to navigate a housing situation that sees market rate housing reaching an average of over $3,200 a month for a one bedroom apartment.
Mr. Santiago is a valuable part of the community, as he is a teacher and has volunteered as a music instructor at the I-Hotel Manilatown Center, which is the heart of the tenant rights movement in San Francisco. “Benito Santiago’s eviction shows the need to protect not only elders and those with disabilities in San Francisco from greedy landlords, but teachers too” said Tony Robles, Manilatown Heritage Foundation board member. A San Francisco Bay Guardian article reports that 35% of teachers hired since July live outside the city.
Elders are being preyed upon by speculators and have been hard hit by evictions—especially in working communities and communities of color. We call upon both local and state leaders to pay attention to the eviction epidemic that is hitting seniors extremely hard. Ellis Act evictions have had catastrophic effects on the lives of thousands and those effects are being felt in places outside of the Bay Area.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Ellis Act is a provision in California Law (Government Code section 7060-7060.7) that provides landlords in California with a legal way to "go out of business" short of selling the property to another landlord.
The Ellis Act "was adopted by the California Legislature in 1985 after the California Supreme Court ruled that landlords do not have the right to evict tenants to go out of the business of being a landlord".
Municipalities can regulate the Ellis Act eviction process to some extent. Those that do typically restrict the property from use as a rental property for a period of time and require that it go back under rent control provisions if it is returned to the rental market.
- San Francisco requires compensation from at least $5,153 and up (per tenant) to more than $18,000 per unit depending upon various factors like age, disability, and whether a unit has school-aged children occupying the targeted unit. An amendment to the Ellis Act for San Francisco County is pending in the California State Legislature. SB1439, if enacted would require new property owners to wait five years before evicting the current tenants.
- Santa Monica requires an owner get a re-occupation permit before the building can be used for any purpose following Ellis Act evictions.
A Small Place
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A Small Place is a part fictional and part autobiographical novel published in 1988 by Jamaica Kincaid. The work is an indictment of the Antiguan government, the tourist industry and Antigua's British colonial legacy. After experiencing a frustrating and complex childhood, Kincaid expresses her opinions about Antigua, a small Caribbeanisland. The book can be viewed as composed of two parts. In the first part, the narrator describes the typical tourism experience and how tourists perceive Antigua. In the second part, the narrator talks about colonial Antigua as remembered from childhood experiences and the legacies of colonial practices in present day, post-colonial Antigua.
Kincaid was born in Antigua then moved to the United States. Reflecting back to her childhood, Kincaid shares her ideas about the American and European inhabitants. In this poetic style of writing, Kincaid grasps the reader's attention by vividly raising questions in our minds as she describes her own.
History and Background
In 1493 Christopher Columbus was on his second voyage when he spotted an island. He named the island Antigua after the saint Santa Maria de la Antigua. Sir Thomas Warner from England was able to colonize the island in 1632 by starting plantations that included tobacco and sugarcane. This brought slavery to the island whom were imported from West Africa and worked on these plantations. Antigua became known as the English Harbourtown for its great location in the Caribbean and harbors. In 1834 slavery was finally abolished, but their conditions only got worse with the “land shortages and the universal refusal of credit”. Antigua gained full independence on November 1, 1981. By 1990 the prime minister at that time Vere Bird, his son was removed from the public office for arms trafficking. The country also was having problems with money laundering. One of the worst things that happened to Antigua was in 2009 when the US Securities and Exchange Commission charged their biggest investor, Sir Allen Stanford, of investment fraud. This caused Antigua to lose its main source of money. The island is known as a tourist location, but the island suffered damaged after Hurricane Luis 1995 and Hurricane Georges 1998, and a lack of tourist after September 11 and the murder of a British couple on the island. Jamaica Kincaid’s novel can be seen as anti-imperialism because she brings up the issue of tourism and government corruption, both of which became prevalent after colonialism was abolished. She criticizes Antigua’s dependence on tourism for its economy. The hurricanes caused great damage and this can also be seen in the novel when she describes how great the library was before, but how the library was completely destroyed and left in rubles after the hurricane. Antigua was not able to fully recover after the hurricanes. It damaged and destroyed many buildings that were never renovated like Kincaid’s explains in the novel. Kincaid explains how many people in office were charged with all forms of corruption. Antigua was never able to recover to become what it used to be under the British government. They lack money and uncorrupt political officials.
Style of writing
The way or style Jamaica Kincaid writes “A Small Place,” is a “point- of- view” perspective. She writes about different viewpoints to allow the readers to understand the different sides of her novel. In a way, it’s juxtaposed because Kincaid uses tourists and the Antigua people (workers) as a relationship of two different people that are experiencing life in a different point of view. Critics say Kincaid style is “intimidating,”  because the way she writes is like she’s attacking the readers/ tourist but really she’s speaking in a perspective format, that isn’t personal, just a perspective. Her style understands; the history, the perspective, and political aspects to have great learning experience for any reader.
Based off Byerman’s article, it seems when Kincaid refers to “you” in the textbook, she is basically polemicizing. She writes in second person to get the readers attention about how every country is different and how the media cast about the beauty of countries when there are really corruptions in the system.  She is using “you,” as in reference to the tourists and “I,” in reference to her and Antiguans. In a way, she polemicizes towards the tourists because us the tourist don’t fully understand the corruption of the country. “From the beginning, Kincaid establishes her authority by speaking in the second person and its voice in the text.” This is important because when you start reading, it starts off as a step-by-step process of how people would describe their traveling experiences to others. But then page 35, when she starts to aggressively attack “you,” you get that feeling of offense and makes you ask yourself “why are you attacking me?” Kincaid uses “you” and “I,” as a reference to capture the readers’ attention to understand the corruption that goes on in different countries and how she feels about colonialism.
Jamaica Kincaid’s style of writing has poetic forms throughout and it continuously tries to grasp the attention of the readers. The defining quality of her style of writing is the sensuality and simplicity she uses. She shows a love and appreciation of the content when she writes about the history of Antigua. Kincaid tries to achieve stylistic impact of writing through repetition and deceptive simplicity.
In her article ‘Jamaica Kincaid’s Political Place: A Review Essay’ researcher and professor of literature at University of Trento; Giovanna Covi’s talks about Kincaid’s art of writing being at its best in A Small Place as compared to her previous works of poetic fiction. Covi also talks about how, “the charm came primarily from shifting the reader’s perspective between autobiography and novel, between collection and series of short stories, in a continuous mixture of dream and reality. With a rocking-chair effect being obtained through a repetitive, child-like language whose lexicon and syntax were of the utmost simplicity.”
Tourism as a neo-colonial structure
The theme of tourism dominates the first section of “A Small Place”. Kincaid employs the perspective of the tourist in order to demonstrate the inherent escapism in creating a distance from the realities of a visited place. Nadine Dolby dissects the theme of tourism in “A Small Place” and places Kincaid’s depiction of tourism in a globalized context that justifies Kincaid’s strong feelings toward it. Dolby corroborates on Kincaid’s depiction of the tourist creating separation by “othering” the locale and the individuals that inhabit it. Furthermore, the tourist industry is linked to a global economic system that ultimately does not translate into benefits for the very Antiguans that enable it.
The tourist may experience the beauty on the surface of Antigua while being wholly ignorant of the actual political and social conditions that the Antiguan tourism industry epitomizes and reinforces. Corinna Mcleod also touches on this idea by pointing out the disenfranchising nature of the tourism industry in its reinforcement of an exploitative power structure. In effect, the industry recolonizes Antigua by placing locals at a disenfranchised and subservient position in a global economic system that ultimately does not serve them.
Racism and legacies of colonialism
While Kincaid expresses anger towards colonialism and the broken Antiguan identity that it has left in its wake, she avoids retreating to simple racialization in order to explain the past and present, for doing so would further “other” an already marginalized group of people. Kincaid sheds light on the oppressive hierarchical structures of colonialism, which is still evident in the learned power structures of present day, post- colonial Antigua.
While she indeed acknowledges the justifications of oppression based on race in England’s colonization of Antigua, she also attempts to transcend the notions of an inescapable racialized past. In doing so she attempts to shape readers’ view of Antigua by creating a sense of agency.
|This article's tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on Wikipedia. See Wikipedia's guide to writing better articles for suggestions. (November 2014)|
Kincaid’s work has received mixed reviews, both positive and negative. Some of her overall reactions in the United States were characterized as immediate and enthusiastic. The anger that people felt from her attacking nature in her reading simultaneously lent certain strength to her argument about the postcolonial condition of the Antiguan people by manifesting itself as an authentic and emotional account. She uses her anger about the situation as a way to definitively inform readers about the postcolonial Antiguan daily life. Being an enraged essay focusing on racism and the effects of colonialism, some people account for the most consistent and striking aspect of her work to be what critic Susan Sontag calls her, “emotional truthfulness." Sontag puts the reception in to critical terms with an eye towards the acuity of Kinkaid's writing when she says, It's poignant, but it's poignant because it's so truthful and it's so complicated, Sontag says. She doesn't treat these things in a sentimental or facile way.
Some people ultimately identified her harsh and convicted attitude in her writing as the main cause for not putting it down. The first chapter, focusing on the actions and motives of tourists not just in Antigua but in general, left general readers who shared their thoughts on various blog sites Some reacted with feelings of guilt due to the harsh criticisms of the tourists who came through Antigua while simultaneously appreciate that factual basis for which she wrote her book. Others, however, saw it as an over attack on the Antiguan people as well as those tourists who frequented her country. (In 1988, near its publication; Kincaid’s A Small Place received very negative reception not only in Antigua but also in the United States. Her text was criticized for its vitriolic attack on the government and people of Antigua. An editor of the New Yorker, Robert Gottlieb, considered Kincaid’s work to be too critical and ultimately refused to publish it. It was clear that overall, the book was not well received in Antigua, where Kincaid was actually banned for years due to her blatant critique of the Antiguan Government. According to one book written in response to Kinkaid's work throughout her career,Jamaica Kinkaid: Writing Memory, Writing Back to the Mother she was not only banned unofficially for five years from her home country but she voiced concerns that had she gone back in that time, she worried she would be killed. The reception taken from her book by the Antiguan people, and the people of the Caribbean; reflect the troubled way for which she depicts those groups in her writing. In one popular book, written after the outrage of feedback from A Small Place, Author Jane King of A Small Place Writes Back says, “Fine, so Kincaid does not like the Caribbean very much, finds it dull and boring and would rather live in Vermont. There can really be no difficulty with that, but I do not see why Caribbean people should admire her for denigrating our small place in this destructively angry fashion.” Moira Ferguson, a popular academic feminist writer stated that, “As an African-Caribbean writer Kincaid speaks to and from the position of the other. Her characters are often maligned by history and subjected to a foreign culture, while Kincaid herself has become and increasingly mainstream American writer” Overall, as for the negative reception of the novel goes, Kincaid has taken what some call a savagely critical gaze on her birthplace, focusing on tourism and corruption, and created a large resistance by the people
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In international law, odious debt, also known as illegitimate debt, is a legal theory that holds that the national debt incurred by a regime for purposes that do not serve the best interests of the nation, should not be enforceable. Such debts are, thus, considered by this doctrine to be personal debts of the regime that incurred them and not debts of the state. In some respects, the concept is analogous to the invalidity of contracts signed under coercion.
The doctrine of odious debt was formalized in a 1927 treatise by Alexander Nahum Sack, a Russian émigré legal theorist. It was based on two 19th century precedents—Mexico's repudiation of debts incurred by Emperor Maximilian, and the denial by the United States of Cuban liability for debts incurred by the Spanish colonial regime.
When a despotic regime contracts a debt, not for the needs or in the interests of the state, but rather to strengthen itself, to suppress a popular insurrection, etc, this debt is odious for the people of the entire state. This debt does not bind the nation; it is a debt of the regime, a personal debt contracted by the ruler, and consequently it falls with the demise of the regime. The reason why these odious debts cannot attach to the territory of the state is that they do not fulfil one of the conditions determining the lawfulness of State debts, namely that State debts must be incurred, and the proceeds used, for the needs and in the interests of the State. Odious debts, contracted and utilised for purposes which, to the lenders' knowledge, are contrary to the needs and the interests of the nation, are not binding on the nation – when it succeeds in overthrowing the government that contracted them – unless the debt is within the limits of real advantages that these debts might have afforded. The lenders have committed a hostile act against the people, they cannot expect a nation which has freed itself of a despotic regime to assume these odious debts, which are the personal debts of the ruler.
There are many examples of similar debt repudiation.
Patricia Adams, executive director of Probe International, a Canadian environmental and public policy advocacy organisation and author of Odious Debts: Loose Lending, Corruption, and the Third World's Environmental Legacy, stated: "by giving creditors an incentive to lend only for purposes that are transparent and of public benefit, future tyrants will lose their ability to finance their armies, and thus the war on terror and the cause of world peace will be better served." In a Cato Institute policy analysis, Adams suggested that debts incurred by Iraq during Saddam Hussein's reign were odious because the money was spent on weapons, instruments of repression, and palaces.
A 2002 article by economists Seema Jayachandran and Michael Kremer renewed interest in this topic. They propose that the idea can be used to create a new type of economic sanction to block further borrowing by dictators. Jayachandran proposed new recommendations in November 2010 at the 10th anniversary of the Jubilee movement at the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C.
In December 2008, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa attempted to default on Ecuador's national debt, calling it illegitimate odious debt, because it was contracted by corrupt and despotic prior regimes. He succeeded in reducing the price of the debt letters before continuing paying the debt.
After the overthrow of Haiti's Jean-Claude Duvalier in 1986, there were calls to cancel Haiti's debt owed to multilateral institutions, calling it unjust odious debt, and Haiti could better use the funds for education, health care, and basic infrastructure. As of February 2008, the Haiti Debt Cancellation Resolution had 66 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives. Several organizations in the United States issued action alerts around the Haiti Debt Cancellation Resolution, and a Congressional letter to theU.S. Treasury, including Jubilee USA, the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti and Pax Christi USA.
International Monetary FundThe International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international organization headquartered in Washington, D. C., of 188 countries working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world. Formed in 1944 at the Bretton Woods Conference, it came into formal existence in 1945 with 29 member countries and the goal of reconstructing the international payment system. Countries contribute funds to a pool through a quota system from which countries with payment imbalances can borrow. As of 2010, the fund had XDR476.8 billion, about US$755.7 billion at then-current exchange rates.
Through this fund, and other activities such as statistics keeping and analysis, surveillance of its members' economies and the demand for self-correcting policies, the IMF works to improve the economies of its member countries. The organization's objectives stated in the Articles of Agreement are: to promote international economic cooperation, international trade, employment, and exchange-rate stability, including by making financial resources available to member countries to meetbalance-of-payments needs.
According to the IMF itself, it works to foster global growth and economic stability by providing policy, advice and financing to members, by working with developing nations to help them achieve macroeconomic stability, and by reducing poverty. The rationale for this is that private international capital markets function imperfectly and many countries have limited access to financial markets. Such market imperfections, together with balance-of-payments financing, provide the justification for official financing, without which many countries could only correct large external payment imbalances through measures with adverse economic consequences. The IMF provides alternate sources of financing.
Upon initial IMF formation, its two primary functions were: to oversee the fixed exchange rate arrangements between countries, thus helping national governments manage their exchange rates and allowing these governments to prioritise economic growth, and to provide short-term capital to aid balance of payments. This assistance was meant to prevent the spread of international economic crises. The IMF was also intended to help mend the pieces of the international economy post the Great Depressionand World War II.
The IMF's role was fundamentally altered after the floating exchange rates post 1971. It shifted to examining the economic policies of countries with IMF loan agreements to determine if a shortage of capital was due to economic fluctuations or economic policy. The IMF also researched what types of government policy would ensure economic recovery. The new challenge is to promote and implement policy that reduces the frequency of crises among the emerging market countries, especially the middle-income countries that are vulnerable to massive capital outflows. Rather than maintaining a position of oversight of only exchange rates, their function became one of surveillance of the overall macroeconomic performance of member countries. Their role became a lot more active because the IMF now manages economic policy rather than just exchange rates.
In addition, the IMF negotiates conditions on lending and loans under their policy of conditionality, which was established in the 1950s. Low-income countries can borrow on concessional terms, which means there is a period of time with no interest rates, through the Extended Credit Facility (ECF), the Standby Credit Facility (SCF) and the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF). Nonconcessional loans, which include interest rates, are provided mainly through Stand-By Arrangements (SBA), the Flexible Credit Line (FCL), the Precautionary and Liquidity Line (PLL), and the Extended Fund Facility. The IMF provides emergency assistance via the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) to members facing urgent balance-of-payments needs.
Surveillance of the global economy
The IMF is mandated to oversee the international monetary and financial system and monitor the economic and financial policies of its member countries. This activity is known as surveillance and facilitates international cooperation. Since the demise of the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates in the early 1970s, surveillance has evolved largely by way of changes in procedures rather than through the adoption of new obligations. The responsibilities changed from those of guardian to those of overseer of members’ policies.
The Fund typically analyzes the appropriateness of each member country’s economic and financial policies for achieving orderly economic growth, and assesses the consequences of these policies for other countries and for the global economy.
In 1995 the International Monetary Fund began work on data dissemination standards with the view of guiding IMF member countries to disseminate their economic and financial data to the public. The International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) endorsed the guidelines for the dissemination standards and they were split into two tiers: The General Data Dissemination System (GDDS) and theSpecial Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS).
The executive board approved the SDDS and GDDS in 1996 and 1997 respectively, and subsequent amendments were published in a revised Guide to the General Data Dissemination System. The system is aimed primarily at statisticians and aims to improve many aspects of statistical systems in a country. It is also part of the World Bank Millennium Development Goals and Poverty Reduction Strategic Papers.
The primary objective of the GDDS is to encourage member countries to build a framework to improve data quality and statistical capacity building in order to evaluate statistical needs, set priorities in improving the timeliness, transparency, reliability and accessibility of financial and economic data. Some countries initially used the GDDS, but later upgraded to SDDS.
Some entities that are not themselves IMF members also contribute statistical data to the systems:
- Palestinian Authority – GDDS
- Hong Kong – SDDS
- Macau – GDDS
- EU institutions:
Conditionality of loans
IMF conditionality is a set of policies or conditions that the IMF requires in exchange for financial resources. The IMF does require collateral from countries for loans but also requires the government seeking assistance to correct its macroeconomic imbalances in the form of policy reform. If the conditions are not met, the funds are withheld. Conditionality is perhaps the most controversial aspect of IMF policies.[weasel words] The concept of conditionality was introduced in a 1952 Executive Board decision and later incorporated into the Articles of Agreement.
Conditionality is associated with economic theory as well as an enforcement mechanism for repayment. Stemming primarily from the work of Jacques Polak, the theoretical underpinning of conditionality was the "monetary approach to the balance of payments".
Further information: Structural adjustment
Some of the conditions for structural adjustment can include:
- Cutting expenditures, also known as austerity.
- Focusing economic output on direct export and resource extraction,
- Devaluation of currencies,
- Trade liberalisation, or lifting import and export restrictions,
- Increasing the stability of investment (by supplementing foreign direct investment with the opening of domestic stock markets),
- Balancing budgets and not overspending,
- Removing price controls and state subsidies,
- Privatization, or divestiture of all or part of state-owned enterprises,
- Enhancing the rights of foreign investors vis-a-vis national laws,
- Improving governance and fighting corruption.
These conditions have also been sometimes labelled as the Washington Consensus.
These loan conditions ensure that the borrowing country will be able to repay the IMF and that the country will not attempt to solve their balance-of-payment problems in a way that would negatively impact the international economy. The incentive problem of moral hazard—when economic agents maximize their own utility to the detriment of others because they do not bear the full consequences of their actions—is mitigated through conditions rather than providing collateral; countries in need of IMF loans do not generally possess internationally valuable collateral anyway.
Conditionality also reassures the IMF that the funds lent to them will be used for the purposes defined by the Articles of Agreement and provides safeguards that country will be able to rectify its macroeconomic and structural imbalances. In the judgment of the IMF, the adoption by the member of certain corrective measures or policies will allow it to repay the IMF, thereby ensuring that the resources will be available to support other members.
As of 2004, borrowing countries have had a very good track record for repaying credit extended under the IMF's regular lending facilities with full interest over the duration of the loan. This indicates that IMF lending does not impose a burden on creditor countries, as lending countries receive market-rate interest on most of their quota subscription, plus any of their own-currency subscriptions that are loaned out by the IMF, plus all of the reserve assets that they provide the IMF.
The IMF was originally laid out as a part of the Bretton Woods system exchange agreement in 1944. During the Great Depression, countries sharply raised barriers to trade in an attempt to improve their failing economies. This led to the devaluation of national currencies and a decline in world trade.
This breakdown in international monetary co-operation created a need for oversight. The representatives of 45 governments met at the Bretton Woods Conference in the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in the United States, to discuss a framework for postwar international economic cooperation and how to rebuild Europe.
There were two views on the role the IMF should assume as a global economic institution. British economist John Maynard Keynesimagined that the IMF would be a coöperative fund upon which member states could draw to maintain economic activity and employment through periodic crises. This view suggested an IMF that helped governments and to act as the U.S. government had during the New Deal in response to World War II. American delegate Harry Dexter White foresaw an IMF that functioned more like a bank, making sure that borrowing states could repay their debts on time. Most of White's plan was incorporated into the final acts adopted at Bretton Woods.
The IMF formally came into existence on 27 December 1945, when the first 29 countries ratified its Articles of Agreement. By the end of 1946 the IMF had grown to 39 members. On 1 March 1947, the IMF began its financial operations, and on 8 May France became the first country to borrow from it.
The IMF was one of the key organisations of the international economic system; its design allowed the system to balance the rebuilding of international capitalism with the maximisation of national economic sovereignty and human welfare, also known asembedded liberalism. The IMF's influence in the global economy steadily increased as it accumulated more members. The increase reflected in particular the attainment of political independence by many African countries and more recently the 1991dissolution of the Soviet Union because most countries in the Soviet sphere of influence did not join the IMF.
The Bretton Woods system prevailed until 1971, when the U.S. government suspended the convertibility of the US$ (and dollar reserves held by other governments) into gold. This is known as the Nixon Shock.
In May 2010, the IMF participated, in 3:11 proportion, in the first Greek bailout that totalled €110 billion, to address the great accumulation of public debt, caused by continuing large public sector deficits. As part of the bailout, the Greek government agreed to adopt austerity measures that would reduce the deficit from 11% in 2009 to "well below 3%" in 2014. The bailout did not include debt restructuring measures such as a haircut, to the chagrin of the Swiss, Brazilian, Indian, Russian, and Argentinian Directors of the IMF, with the Greek authorities themselves (at the time, PM George Papandreou and Finance Minister Giorgos Papakonstantinou) ruling out a haircut.
A second bailout package of more than €100 billion was agreed over the course of a few months from October 2011, during which time Papandreou was forced from office. The so-called Troika, of which the IMF is part, are joint managers of this programme, which was approved by the Executive Directors of the IMF on 15 March 2012 for SDR23.8 billion, and which saw private bondholders take a haircut of upwards of 50%. In the interval between May 2010 and February 2012 the private banks of Holland, France and Germany reduced exposure to Greek debt from €122 billion to €66 billion.
As of January 2012, the largest borrowers from the IMF in order were Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Romania, and Ukraine.
On 25 March 2013, a €10 billion international bailout of Cyprus was agreed by the Troika, at the cost to the Cypriots of its agreement: to close the country's second-largest bank; to impose a one-time bank deposit levy on Bank of Cyprus uninsured deposits. Noinsured deposit of €100k or less were to be affected under the terms of a novel bail-in scheme.
The topic of sovereign debt restructuring was taken up by the IMF in April 2013 for the first time since 2005, in a report entitled "Sovereign Debt Restructuring: Recent Developments and Implications for the Fund’s Legal and Policy Framework". The paper, which was discussed by the board on 20 May, summarised the recent experiences in Greece, St Kitts and Nevis, Belize, and Jamaica. An explanatory interview with Deputy Director Hugh Bredenkamp was published a few days later, as was a deconstruction by Matina Stevis of the Wall Street Journal.
In the October 2013 Financial Monitor publication, the IMF suggested that a capital levy capable of reducing Euro-area government debt ratios to "end-2007 levels" would require a very high tax rate of about 10%.
The Fiscal Affairs department of the IMF, headed by Dr. Sanjeev Gupta, produced in January 2014 a report entitled "Fiscal Policy and Income Inequality" which stated that "Some taxes levied on wealth, especially on immovable property, are also an option for economies seeking more progressive taxation...Property taxes are equitable and efficient, but underutilized in many economies...There is considerable scope to exploit this tax more fully, both as a revenue source and as a redistributive instrument."
At the end of March 2014, the IMF secured an $18 billion bailout fund for the provisional government of Ukraine in the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution.
Not all member countries of the IMF are sovereign states, and therefore not all "member countries" of the IMF are members of the United Nations. Amidst "member countries" of the IMF that are not member states of the UN are non-sovereign areas with special jurisdictions that are officially under the sovereignty of full UN member states, such as Aruba, Curaçao, Hong Kong, and Macau, as well as Kosovo. The corporate members appoint ex-officio voting members, who are listed below. All members of the IMF are also International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) members and vice versa.
Former members are Cuba (which left in 1964) and the Republic of China, which was ejected from the UN in 1980 after losing the support of then U.S. President Jimmy Carter and was replaced by the People's Republic of China. However, "Taiwan Province of China" is still listed in the official IMF indices.
Apart from Cuba, the other UN states that do not belong to the IMF are Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Nauru, and North Korea.
The former Czechoslovakia was expelled in 1954 for "failing to provide required data" and was readmitted in 1990, after the Velvet Revolution. Poland withdrew in 1950—allegedly pressured by the Soviet Union—but returned in 1986.
Any country may apply to be a part of the IMF. Post-IMF formation, in the early postwar period, rules for IMF membership were left relatively loose. Members needed to make periodic membership payments towards their quota, to refrain from currency restrictions unless granted IMF permission, to abide by the Code of Conduct in the IMF Articles of Agreement, and to provide national economic information. However, stricter rules were imposed on governments that applied to the IMF for funding.
The countries that joined the IMF between 1945 and 1971 agreed to keep their exchange rates secured at rates that could be adjusted only to correct a "fundamental disequilibrium" in the balance of payments, and only with the IMF's agreement.
Some members have a very difficult relationship with the IMF and even when they are still members they do not allow themselves to be monitored. Argentina, for example, refuses to participate in an Article IV Consultation with the IMF.
Member countries of the IMF have access to information on the economic policies of all member countries, the opportunity to influence other members’ economic policies,technical assistance in banking, fiscal affairs, and exchange matters, financial support in times of payment difficulties, and increased opportunities for trade and investment.
Board of Governors
The Board of Governors consists of one governor and one alternate governor for each member country. Each member country appoints its two governors. The Board normally meets once a year and is responsible for electing or appointing executive directors to the Executive Board. While the Board of Governors is officially responsible for approving quota increases, Special Drawing Right allocations, the admittance of new members, compulsory withdrawal of members, and amendments to the Articles of Agreement and By-Laws, in practice it has delegated most of its powers to the IMF's Executive Board.
The Board of Governors is advised by the International Monetary and Financial Committee and the Development Committee. The International Monetary and Financial Committee has 24 members and monitors developments in global liquidity and the transfer of resources to developing countries. The Development Committee has 25 members and advises on critical development issues and on financial resources required to promote economic development in developing countries. They also advise on trade and environmental issues.
24 Executive Directors make up Executive Board. The Executive Directors represent all 188 member countries in a geographically based roster. Countries with large economies have their own Executive Director, but most countries are grouped in constituencies representing four or more countries.
Following the 2008 Amendment on Voice and Participation which came into effect in March 2011, eight countries each appoint an Executive Director: the United States, Japan, Germany, France, the UK, China, the Russian Federation, and Saudi Arabia. The remaining 16 Directors represent constituencies consisting of 4 to 22 countries. The Executive Director representing the largest constituency of 22 countries accounts for 1.55% of the vote. This Board usually meets several times each week. The Board membership and constituency is scheduled for periodic review every eight years.
The IMF is led by a managing director, who is head of the staff and serves as Chairman of the Executive Board. The managing director is assisted by a First Deputy managing director and three other Deputy Managing Directors. Historically the IMF's managing director has been European and the president of the World Bank has been from the United States. However, this standard is increasingly being questioned and competition for these two posts may soon open up to include other qualified candidates from any part of the world.
In 2011 the world's largest developing countries, the BRIC nations, issued a statement declaring that the tradition of appointing a European as managing director undermined the legitimacy of the IMF and called for the appointment to be merit-based.
|11||5 July 2011 – Present||Christine Lagarde||France||Law, Politician, Minister of Finance|
|–||18 May 2011 – 4 July 2011||John Lipsky acting||United States||Economics, First Deputy Managing Director IMF|
|10||1 November 2007 – 18 May 2011||Dominique Strauss-Kahn||France||Economics, Law, Politician, Minister of the Economy and Finance|
|9||7 June 2004 – 31 October 2007||Rodrigo Rato||Spain||Law, MBA, Politician, Minister of the Economy|
|8||1 May 2000 – 4 March 2004||Horst Köhler||Germany||Economics, EBRD|
|7||16 January 1987 – 14 February 2000||Michel Camdessus||France||Economics, Central Banker|
|6||18 June 1978 – 15 January 1987||Jacques de Larosière||France||Civil Servant|
|5||1 September 1973 – 18 June 1978||Johan Witteveen||Netherlands||Economics, Academic, Author, Politician, Minister of Finance, Deputy Prime Minister,CPB|
|4||1 September 1963 – 31 August 1973||Pierre-Paul Schweitzer||France||Law, Central Banker, Civil Servant|
|3||21 November 1956 – 5 May 1963||Per Jacobsson||Sweden||Law, Economics, League of Nations, BIS|
|2||3 August 1951 – 3 October 1956||Ivar Rooth||Sweden||Law, Central Banker|
|1||6 May 1946 – 5 May 1951||Camille Gutt||Belgium||Politician, Minister of Finance|
Previous managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested in connection with charges of sexually assaulting a New York hotel room attendant and resigned on 18 May. On 28 June 2011 Christine Lagarde was confirmed as managing director of the IMF for a five-year term starting on 5 July 2011. In 2012, Lagarde was paid a tax-exempt salary of US$467,940, and this is automatically increased every year according to inflation. In addition, the director receives an allowance of US$83,760 and additional expenses for entertainment.
Voting power in the IMF is based on a quota system. Each member has a number of basic votes (each member's number of basic votes equals 5.502% of the total votes), plus one additional vote for each Special Drawing Right (SDR) of 100,000 of a member country's quota. The Special Drawing Right is the unit of account of the IMF and represents a claim to currency. It is based on a basket of key international currencies. The basic votes generate a slight bias in favour of small countries, but the additional votes determined by SDR outweigh this bias.
|The table below shows quota and voting shares for IMF members (Attention: Amendment on Voice and Participation, and of subsequent reforms of quotas and governance which were agreed in 2010 but are not yet in effect.)|
Effects of the quota system
The IMF's quota system was created to raise funds for loans. Each IMF member country is assigned a quota, or contribution, that reflects the country's relative size in the global economy. Each member's quota also determines its relative voting power. Thus, financial contributions from member governments are linked to voting power in the organisation.
This system follows the logic of a shareholder-controlled organisation: wealthy countries have more say in the making and revision of rules. Since decision making at the IMF reflects each member's relative economic position in the world, wealthier countries that provide more money to the IMF have more influence than poorer members that contribute less; nonetheless, the IMF focuses on redistribution.
Quotas are normally reviewed every five years and can be increased when deemed necessary by the Board of Governors. Currently, reforming the representation ofdeveloping countries within the IMF has been suggested. These countries' economies represent a large portion of the global economic system but this is not reflected in the IMF's decision making process through the nature of the quota system. Joseph Stiglitz argues, "There is a need to provide more effective voice and representation for developing countries, which now represent a much larger portion of world economic activity since 1944, when the IMF was created." In 2008, a number of quota reforms were passed including shifting 6% of quota shares to dynamic emerging markets and developing countries.
United States influence
A second criticism is that the United States' transition to neoliberalism and global capitalism also led to a change in the identity and functions of international institutions like the IMF. Because of the high involvement and voting power of the United States, the global economic ideology could effectively be transformed to match that of the United States. This is consistent with the IMF's function change during the 1970s after the Nixon Shock ended the Bretton Woods system. Allies of the United States are said to receive bigger loans with fewer conditions.
Overcoming borrower/creditor divide
The IMF's membership is divided along income lines: certain countries provide the financial resources while others use these resources. Both developed country "creditors" and developing country "borrowers" are members of the IMF. The developed countries provide the financial resources but rarely enter into IMF loan agreements; they are the creditors. Conversely, the developing countries use the lending services but contribute little to the pool of money available to lend because their quotas are smaller; they are the borrowers. Thus, tension is created around governance issues because these two groups, creditors and borrowers, have fundamentally different interests.
The criticism is that the system of voting power distribution through a quota system institutionalises borrower subordination and creditor dominance. The resulting division of the IMF's membership into borrowers and non-borrowers has increased the controversy around conditionality because the borrowers are interested in increasing loan access while creditors want to maintain reassurance that the loans will be repaid.
A recent source reveals that the average overall use of IMF credit per decade increased, in real terms, by 21% between the 1970s and 1980s, and increased again by just over 22% from the 1980s to the 1991–2005 period. Another study has suggested that since 1950 the continent of Africa alone has received $300 billion from the IMF, the World Bank, and affiliate institutions.
A study by Bumba Mukherjee found that developing democratic countries benefit more from IMF programs than developing autocratic countries because policy-making, and the process of deciding where loaned money is used, is more transparent within a democracy. One study done by Randall Stone found that although earlier studies found little impact of IMF programs on balance of payments, more recent studies using more sophisticated methods and larger samples "usually found IMF programs improved the balance of payments".
Exceptional Access Framework – Sovereign Debt
The Exceptional Access Framework was created in 2003 when John B. Taylor was Under Secretary of the U.S. Treasury for International Affairs. The new Framework became fully operational in February 2003 and it was applied in the subsequent decisions on Argentina and Brazil. Its purpose was to place some sensible rules and limits on the way the IMF makes loans to support governments with debt problem—especially in emerging markets—and thereby move away from the bailout mentality of the 1990s. Such a reform was essential for ending the crisis atmosphere that then existed in emerging markets. The reform was closely related to, and put in place nearly simultaneously with, the actions of several emerging market countries to place collective action clauses in their bond contracts.
In 2010, the framework was abandoned so the IMF could make loans to Greece in an unsustainable and political situation.
The topic of sovereign debt restructuring was taken up by IMF staff in April 2013 for the first time since 2005, in a report entitled "Sovereign Debt Restructuring: Recent Developments and Implications for the Fund's Legal and Policy Framework". The paper, which was discussed by the board on 20 May, summarised the recent experiences in Greece, St Kitts and Nevis, Belize and Jamaica. An explanatory interview with Deputy Director Hugh Bredenkamp was published a few days later, as was a deconstruction by Matina Stevis of the Wall Street Journal.
The staff was directed to formulate an updated policy, which was accomplished on 22 May 2014 with a report entitled "The Fund's Lending Framework and Sovereign Debt: Preliminary Considerations", and taken up by the Executive Board on 13 June. The staff proposed that "in circumstances where a (Sovereign) member has lost market access and debt is considered sustainable...the IMF would be able to provide Exceptional Access on the basis of a debt operation that involves an extension of maturities", which was labelled a "reprofiling operation". These reprofiling operations would "generally be less costly to the debtor and creditors—and thus to the system overall—relative to either an upfront debt reduction operation or a bail-out that is followed by debt reduction... (and) would be envisaged only when both (a) a member has lost market access and (b) debt is assessed to be sustainable, but not with high probability...Creditors will only agree if they understand that such an amendment is necessary to avoid a worse outcome: namely, a default and/or an operation involving debt reduction...Collective action clauses, which now exist in most—but not all—bonds, would be relied upon to address collective action problems."
IMF and globalization
Globalization encompasses three institutions: global financial markets and transnational companies, national governments linked to each other in economic and military alliances led by the United States, and rising "global governments" such as World Trade Organization (WTO), IMF, and World Bank. Charles Derber argues in his bookPeople Before Profit, "These interacting institutions create a new global power system where sovereignty is globalized, taking power and constitutional authority away from nations and giving it to global markets and international bodies". Titus Alexander argues that this system institutionalises global inequality between western countries and the Majority World in a form of global apartheid, in which the IMF is a key pillar.
The establishment of globalised economic institutions has been both a symptom of and a stimulus for globalization. The development of the World Bank, the IMF regional development banks such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and multilateral trade institutions such as the WTO signals a move away from the dominance of the state as the exclusive unit of analysis in international affairs. Globalization has thus been transformative in terms of a reconceptualising of state sovereignty.
Following U.S. President Bill Clinton's administration's aggressive financial deregulation campaign in the 1990s, globalisation leaders overturned longstanding restrictions by governments that limited foreign ownership of their banks, deregulated currency exchange, and eliminated restrictions on how quickly money could be withdrawn by foreign investors.
Fund report in May 2015, the world's governments indirectly subsidize fossil fuel companies with $5.3tn (£3.4tn) a year. Most this is due to polluters not paying the costs imposed on governments by the burning of coal, oil and gas: air pollution, health problems, the floods, droughts and storms driven by climate change.
Overseas Development Institute (ODI) research undertaken in 1980 included criticisms of the IMF which support the analysis that it is a pillar of what activist Titus Alexander calls global apartheid.
- Developed countries were seen to have a more dominant role and control over less developed countries (LDCs).
- Secondly, the Fund worked on the incorrect assumption that all payments disequilibria were caused domestically. The Group of 24 (G-24), on behalf of LDC members, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) complained that the IMF did not distinguish sufficiently between disequilibria with predominantly external as opposed to internal causes. This criticism was voiced in the aftermath of the 1973 oil crisis. Then LDCs found themselves with payments deficits due to adverse changes in their terms of trade, with the Fund prescribing stabilisation programmes similar to those suggested for deficits caused by government over-spending. Faced with long-term, externally generated disequilibria, the G-24 argued for more time for LDCs to adjust their economies.
- Some IMF policies may be anti-developmental; the report said that deflationary effects of IMF programmes quickly led to losses of output and employment in economies where incomes were low and unemployment was high. Moreover, the burden of the deflation is disproportionately borne by the poor.
- Lastly is the suggestion that the IMF's policies lack a clear economic rationale. Its policy foundations were theoretical and unclear due to differing opinions and departmental rivalries whilst dealing with countries with widely varying economic circumstances.
ODI conclusions were that the IMF's very nature of promoting market-oriented approaches attracted unavoidable criticism. On the other hand, the IMF could serve as a scapegoat while allowing governments to blame international bankers. The ODI conceded that the IMF was insensitive to political aspirations of LDCs, while its policy conditions were inflexible.
Argentina, which had been considered by the IMF to be a model country in its compliance to policy proposals by the Bretton Woods institutions, experienced a catastrophic economic crisis in 2001, which some believe to have been caused by IMF-induced budget restrictions—which undercut the government's ability to sustain national infrastructure even in crucial areas such as health, education, and security—and privatisation of strategically vital national resources. Others attribute the crisis to Argentina's misdesigned fiscal federalism, which caused subnational spending to increase rapidly. The crisis added to widespread hatred of this institution in Argentinaand other South American countries, with many blaming the IMF for the region's economic problems. The current—as of early 2006—trend toward moderate left-wing governments in the region and a growing concern with the development of a regional economic policy largely independent of big business pressures has been ascribed to this crisis.
In an interview, the former Romanian Prime Minister Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu claimed that "Since 2005, IMF is constantly making mistakes when it appreciates the country's economic performances". Former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere, who claimed that debt-ridden African states were ceding sovereignty to the IMF and the World Bank, famously asked, "Who elected the IMF to be the ministry of finance for every country in the world?"
The IMF has been criticised for being "out of touch" with local economic conditions, cultures, and environments in the countries they are requiring policy reform. The economic advice the IMF gives might not always take into consideration the difference between what spending means on paper and how it is felt by citizens.
Jeffrey Sachs argues that the IMF's "usual prescription is 'budgetary belt tightening to countries who are much too poor to own belts'". Sachs[Or who says it?] wrote that the IMF's role as a generalist institution specialising in macroeconomic issues needs reform. Conditionality has also been criticised because a country can pledge collateral of "acceptable assets" to obtain waivers—if one assumes that all countries are able to provide "acceptable collateral".
One view is that conditionality undermines domestic political institutions. The recipient governments are sacrificing policy autonomy in exchange for funds, which can lead to public resentment of the local leadership for accepting and enforcing the IMF conditions. Political instability can result from more leadership turnover as political leaders are replaced in electoral backlashes. IMF conditions are often criticised for reducing government services, thus increasing unemployment.
Another criticism is that IMF programs are only designed to address poor governance, excessive government spending, excessive government intervention in markets, and too much state ownership. This assumes that this narrow range of issues represents the only possible problems; everything is standardised and differing contexts are ignored. A country may also be compelled to accept conditions it would not normally accept had they not been in a financial crisis in need of assistance.
On top of that, regardless of what methodologies and data sets used, it comes to same conclusion of exacerbating income inequality. With Gini coefficient, it became clear that countries with IMF programs face increased income inequality.
It is claimed that conditionalities retard social stability and hence inhibit the stated goals of the IMF, while Structural Adjustment Programs lead to an increase in poverty in recipient countries. The IMF sometimes advocates “austerity programmes”, cutting public spending and increasing taxes even when the economy is weak, to bring budgets closer to a balance, thus reducing budget deficits. Countries are often advised to lower their corporate tax rate. In Globalization and Its Discontents, Joseph E. Stiglitz, former chief economist and senior vice-president at the World Bank, criticizes these policies. He argues that by converting to a more monetarist approach, the purpose of the fund is no longer valid, as it was designed to provide funds for countries to carry out Keynesian reflations, and that the IMF "was not participating in a conspiracy, but it was reflecting the interests and ideology of the Western financial community".
International politics play an important role in IMF decision making. The clout of member states is roughly proportional to its contribution to IMF finances. The United States has the greatest number of votes and therefore wields the most influence. Domestic politics often come into play, with politicians in developing countries using conditionality to gain leverage over the opposition in order to influence policy.
Function and policies
The IMF is only one of many international organisations, and it is a generalist institution that deals only with macroeconomic issues; its core areas of concern in developing countries are very narrow. One proposed reform is a movement towards close partnership with other specialist agencies such as UNICEF, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
Jeffrey Sachs argues in The End of Poverty that the IMF and the World Bank have "the brightest economists and the lead in advising poor countries on how to break out of poverty, but the problem is development economics". Development economics needs the reform, not the IMF. He also notes that IMF loan conditions should be paired with other reforms—e.g., trade reform in developed nations, debt cancellation, and increased financial assistance for investments in basic infrastructure. IMF loan conditions cannot stand alone and produce change; they need to be partnered with other reforms or other conditions as applicable.
U.S. dominance and voting reform
The scholarly consensus is that IMF decision-making is not simply technocratic, but also guided by political and economic concerns. The United States is the IMF's most powerful member, and its influence reaches even into decision-making concerning individual loan agreements. The North American giant is openly opposed to losing what Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew describes as its "leadership role" at the IMF, "our ability to shape international norms and practices."
Reforms to give more powers to emerging economies were agreed by the G20 in 2010; however, they are yet to be ratified by the U.S. Congress. The 2010 reforms cannot pass without American approval, since 85% of the Fund's voting power is required, and the Americans hold more than 16% of voting power. The U.S. executive board veto was brought up again by IMF junior members in April 2014, who also expressed their ongoing frustration with U.S. failure to ratify the 2010 reforms. Singaporean Finance Minister and IMF steering committee chairman Tharman Shanmugaratnam said it could cause "disruptive change" in the global economy: "We are more likely over time to see a weakening of multilateralism, the emergence of regionalism, bilateralism and other ways of dealing with global problems", and that would make the world a "less safe" place. In May 2015, the Obama administration made clear it would not sacrifice its IMF veto, even in order to bypass Congressional approval.
Support of military dictatorships
The role of the Bretton Woods institutions has been controversial since the late Cold War, due to claims that the IMF policy makers supported military dictatorships friendly to American and European corporations and other anti-communist regimes. Critics also claim that the IMF is generally apathetic or hostile to human rights, and labour rights. The controversy has helped spark the anti-globalization movement.
An example of IMF's support for a dictatorship was its ongoing support for Mobutu's rule in Zaire, although its own envoy, Erwin Blumenthal, provided a sobering report about the entrenched corruption and embezzlement and the inability of the country to pay back any loans.
Arguments in favour of the IMF say that economic stability is a precursor to democracy; however, critics highlight various examples in which democratised countries fell after receiving IMF loans.
Impact on access to food
A number of civil society organisations have criticised the IMF's policies for their impact on access to food, particularly in developing countries. In October 2008, former U.S. president Bill Clinton delivered a speech to the United Nations on World Food Day, criticizing the World Bank and IMF for their policies on food and agriculture:
We need the World Bank, the IMF, all the big foundations, and all the governments to admit that, for 30 years, we all blew it, including me when I was president. We were wrong to believe that food was like some other product in international trade, and we all have to go back to a more responsible and sustainable form of agriculture.—Former U.S. president Bill Clinton, Speech at United Nations World Food Day, October 16, 2008
Impact on public health
A 2009 study concluded that the strict conditions resulted in thousands of deaths in Eastern Europe by tuberculosis as public health care had to be weakened. In the 21 countries to which the IMF had given loans, tuberculosis deaths rose by 16.6%.
In 2009, a book by Rick Rowden titled The Deadly Ideas of Neoliberalism: How the IMF has Undermined Public Health and the Fight Against AIDS, claimed that the IMF’s monetarist approach towards prioritising price stability (low inflation) and fiscal restraint (low budget deficits) was unnecessarily restrictive and has prevented developing countries from scaling up long-term investment in public health infrastructure. The book claimed the consequences have been chronically underfunded public health systems, leading to demoralising working conditions that have fuelled a "brain drain" of medical personnel, all of which has undermined public health and the fight againstHIV/AIDS in developing countries.
Impact on environment
IMF policies have been repeatedly criticised for making it difficult for indebted countries to say no to environmentally harmful projects that nevertheless generate revenues such as oil, coal, and forest-destroying lumber and agriculture projects. Ecuador for example had to defy IMF advice repeatedly to pursue the protection of its rain forests, though paradoxically this need was cited in IMF argument to support that country. The IMF acknowledged this paradox in the 2010 report that proposed the IMF Green Fund, a mechanism to issue special drawing rights directly to pay for climate harm prevention and potentially other ecological protection as pursued generally by otherenvironmental finance.
While the response to these moves was generally positive possibly because ecological protection and energy and infrastructure transformation are more politically neutral than pressures to change social policy. Some experts voiced concern that the IMF was not representative, and that the IMF proposals to generate only US$200 billion a year by 2020 with the SDRs as seed funds, did not go far enough to undo the general incentive to pursue destructive projects inherent in the world commodity trading and banking systems—criticisms often levelled at the World Trade Organization and large global banking institutions.
In the context of the European debt crisis, some observers noted that Spain and California, two troubled economies within Europe and the United States, and also Germany, the primary and politically most fragile supporter of a euro currency bailout would benefit from IMF recognition of their leadership in green technology, and directly from Green Fund–generated demand for their exports, which could also improve their credit ratings.
In March 2011 the Ministers of Economy and Finance of the African Union proposed to establish an African Monetary Fund.
At the 6th BRICS summit in July 2014 the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) announced the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) with an initial size of US$100 billion, a framework to provide liquidity through currency swaps in response to actual or potential short-term balance-of-payments pressures.
In 2014, the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank was established as a rival to the IMF and World Bank.
In the media
Life and Debt, a documentary film, deals with the IMF's policies' influence on Jamaica and its economy from a critical point of view. Debtocracy, a 2011 independent Greek documentary film, also criticizes the IMF. Portuguese musician José Mário Branco's 1982 album FMI is inspired by the IMF's intervention in Portugal through monitored stabilization programs in 1977–78.