Competition, Spatial Location of Economic Activity and Financial Issues
Edited by Miroslav N. Jovanović
Chapter 15: The International Monetary Fund
John Williamson 1 INTRODUCTION The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international organisation devoted to the monetary relations among states. Officially it is a specialised agency of the United Nations, though the fact that its budget is not dependent upon the UN has given it a high measure of independence. It is based in Washington, DC. Critics charge that it is unduly influenced by other organisations based there, in particular by the US government, and it is certainly among the institutions most criticised by anti-globalists. Conversely, many who recognise the growing interdependence of those who live in different nation-states and wish to ameliorate the consequences tend to welcome the existence of the Fund, though many of them are also highly critical of some aspects and therefore believe that overcoming its drawbacks and weaknesses is an important objective. The IMF now has 185 member countries, which makes its membership almost, though not quite, universal. (It excludes Cuba, North Korea and Taiwan.) This increased from the 45 countries that attended the founding conference held in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in July 1944. Its managing director has, by convention, always been a European. Similarly, his three deputies come from the United States, Japan and the developing world. Its multinational staff consists of about 2,000 people, primarily economists trained at Western universities. It is managed by a 24-strong executive board of directors, each of whom represents a constituency. Eight of the 24 constituencies consist of a single country which therefore appoints its executive...
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