Reform of the International Institutions

Reform of the International Institutions

The IMF, World Bank and the WTO

Peter Coffey and Robert J. Riley

The seemingly endless problems encountered by the IMF, WTO and World Bank provide major reasons for seeking reform. However, an additional impetus is the changing balance of economic power in the world. The volume begins with an overview of the Bretton Woods and international trading systems. Following this are discrete, in-depth discussions of the three institutions from American and European points of view. The authors emphasise the need for making the IMF and World Bank more regional in structure and, like the European Bank, more frugal in the lifestyles of their officials. Similarly, they call for a narrower focus in the mission of the World Bank and the IMF. In the case of the WTO, they call for a democratic reform of the organisation comprising participation by experts and, above all, better representation and support for Third World countries.

Preface: The Reasons for Writing this Book

Peter Coffey and Robert J. Riley

Subjects: economics and finance, international economics

Extract

Rarely has a more opportune moment arrived for the writing of a book. It is, in 2004, exactly 60 years since the original negotiations were held which led to the creation of the IMF and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (now more commonly known as the World Bank) – but not the WTO. Since that date (and particularly since the so-called ‘concordat’ of the 1980s), so much has happened, and even the most benign observers would be forced to admit that the IMF and the World Bank have lost sight of their original mission. Thus, even before the publication of Joseph Stiglitz’s highly critical book, Globalisation and its Discontents, in 2002, the authors of the present book had decided to embark on a study of the three international organisations. However, unlike Professor Stiglitz, though agreeing with many of his critical observations, the present authors try to offer different solutions for the many problems currently facing the international community. Also, unlike Professor Stiglitz, the present authors look at the problems and offer solutions from both American and European points of view – whilst, at the same time, taking into account the views of countries in other parts of the world. According to colleagues in different countries, it is this approach – apart from the timing of publication – which sets this book apart from similar publications. Also, as has already been observed, the original Bretton Woods trilogy was incomplete in that whilst the IMF and the Bank for Reconstruction and Development were created,...