ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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IMF's Autocritique of Neo-liberalism?

In a recent article published in Finance and Development, an International Monetary Fund magazine, three economists have critically evaluated the policies the IMF promotes. They acknowledge evidence that suggests that economic growth under neo-liberalism is difficult to sustain, that it leads to an increase in inequality, and that continuing inequality is harmful for sustainable (or continuing) growth.

IMF: Concerns, Dilemmas and Issues

The main concerns relating to the IMF's policies are relatable to intrusive conditionalities without due regard to the needs of and impact on the borrowers, with expanding scope of surveillance applied asymmetrically between borrowers or programme countries and others with no financial accountability except that of reputational risks. The response of the Fund has been to attune its policies to meet these concerns, emphasise aspects such as national ownership, leaving culture, transparency in its operation, independent evaluation and wider consultations. However, the basic limitations of resources, instruments and mandate in meeting the problems arising from volatile financial markets explain some of the persisting concerns. Three major issues are posed here for discussion to meet these concerns and improve the quality of resolving some of the tradeoffs and judgments involved. The first suggestion is to separate the surveillance function from lending, making the former somewhat independent of political processes as well as the weighted voting structure. The second suggestion is to remove the distortion in current voting strength by recognising intra-monetary union trade as not amounting to international trade since neither currency nor trade restrictions are in place and by accepting the Purchasing Power Parity basis of GDP computation. The third suggestion proposes that the Fund be given some authority to create limited but temporary liquidity under certain circumstances, to be "a lender of some resort".

Africa in Evian

The two central premises of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) crafted in 2000-01 were that deeper integration into the world economy would benefit the continent and that the proponents of Nepad would discipline Africa's dictators. Neither has happened. Will Nepad be revived at the G-8 meeting at Evian?
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