Reform of the International Institutions
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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.
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Chapter 7: The World Trade Organisation

Peter Coffey and Robert J. Riley


Robert J. Riley INTRODUCTION In many respects, academic criticism of the World Trade Organisation is much less intense than that of either the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund. Anne Krueger (1998), in her discussion of the evolution of Bank and Fund policies, writes that: In pondering these issues, one striking fact should be borne in mind: the most effective institution over the past half century – judged by world economic performance – was the GATT, which was not even an international organisation. The WTO came about, almost without planning, because it was in the interests of the major trading nations to strengthen the organisation. (p. 2017) John Jackson (1994) also argues that the GATT has been tremendously successful, and proposes some of the reasons behind its record since it was founded. He writes that: Despite this inauspicious beginning, the GATT has been remarkably successful over its nearly five decades of existence. Its success is partly due to its ingenious and pragmatic leadership, particularly in its early years, as the GATT struggled to fill the gap left by the failure of the International Trade Organisation. (p. 134) He argues that while the GATT suffered from many early problems and ‘birth defects’, including ineffective dispute resolution mechanisms, it has managed to evolve and improve over the past 50 years. He finds the creation of the WTO, with the establishment of that mechanism in particular, to be yet another step forward in its institutional development. In a similar vein, Charnovitz (2002) makes the...

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