Monetary Fund (IMF)
|Organization type||Specialized agency|
|Abbreviation||IWF, IMF, FMI, МВФ ( MWF )|
Gita Gopinath (Chief Economist)
|Founded||1st - 22nd Designed July 1944,
founded December 27, 1945
The International Monetary Fund ( IMF ; English International Monetary Fund , IMF ; also known as World Monetary Fund ) is a legally, organizationally and financially independent specialized agency of the United Nations based in Washington, DC , USA .
The main task of the IMF is the granting of loans to countries without sufficient currency reserves that have got into balance-of-payments difficulties . Further fields of activity are the promotion of international cooperation in monetary policy, expansion of world trade, stabilization of exchange rates, monitoring of monetary policy and technical assistance.
The IMF and its sister organization, the World Bank, have their origins in the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates created in 1944 , which was based on the US dollar, the then gold- backed reserve currency . They were planned as international steering instruments with which a repetition of the currency turbulence of the interwar period and the errors of the gold standard from the 1920s should be prevented. Both organizations are therefore referred to as the Bretton Woods Institution . The IMF's lending is tied to economic policy conditions that are intended to ensure the repayment of the loans. Unlike the IMF, the World Bank also grants loans for special projects.
The IMF currently (as of April 2020) has 189 member states whose voting rights are based on their capital share. The Member States with the largest voting shares are: USA 16.51%, Japan 6.15%, China 6.08%, Germany 5.32%, France 4.03%, United Kingdom 4.03% and Italy 3.02% . Of the German-speaking countries, Luxembourg has 0.29%, Austria 0.81%, Switzerland 1.18% and Belgium 1.3%.
In the IMF, decisions have to be made with a majority of 85%. This means that the USA alone and the EU states together have a de facto blocking minority .
Against the background of the negative monetary policy experiences in the 1930s, Great Britain ( Keynes Plan ) and the USA ( White Plan ) in particular negotiated a new international monetary system, which finally resulted in the conference in Bretton Woods , a small town in the US state of New Hampshire , has been completed successfully. These negotiations, which were decisive for the reconstruction of the world economic system , lasted from July 1, 1944 to July 22, 1944, when John Maynard Keynes was unable to assert himself with the Keynes Plan he had developed against the White Plan preferred by the USA.
As the institutional center of the new system, the IMF was established in December 1945 by an international agreement. Some previously exclusively national decision-making rights were transferred to him. He started work in May 1946. Its actual operational activity began on March 1, 1947.
Following a resolution by the Bundestag on July 28, 1952, the Federal Republic of Germany joined the IMF on August 14, 1952.
The IMF has around 2,700 employees from 147 countries.
The IMF is headed by a managing director and has the following bodies:
- Board of Governors ( Board of Governors ), as the highest body consisting of one representative ( Governor ) of each Member State - usually the Minister of Finance or (more rarely) the head of the Central Bank (for Germany currently Jens Weidmann ). The votes are weighted according to the member state, with the quota primarily determining the voting weight of each state.
- International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) as an advisory body for the Board of Governors, consisting of representatives of the countries or groups of countries represented on the Executive Board
- Executive Board ( Executive Board ) as a body that carries out the daily business of the Fund. It consists of 24 members. The voting weights of each Executive Director are weighted according to the voting shares of the states he represents.
- Development Committee ( Development Committee ) as an advisory body for development issues
- IMF Administrative Court ( IMF Administrative Tribunal ) as the court which decides on labor disputes between IMF and its employees (subject to the working conditions of employees not national labor because of the immunities and privileges of the IMF as an international organization)
According to an informal agreement between the US and some Western European countries, the director of the IMF is always a European, while the influential position of First Deputy Managing Director is held by a US American.
List of executive directors (English Managing Director ):
|Term of office||Country of origin||Surname|
|May 6, 1946||May 5, 1951||Belgium||Camille Gutt|
|August 3, 1951||3rd October 1956||Sweden||Ivar Rooth|
|November 21, 1956||May 5th 1963||Sweden||Per Jacobsson|
|September 1, 1963||August 31, 1973||France||Pierre-Paul Schweitzer|
|September 1, 1973||June 16, 1978||Netherlands||Johan Witteveen|
|June 17, 1978||January 15, 1987||France||Jacques de Larosière|
|January 16, 1987||February 14, 2000||France||Michel Camdessus|
|May 1, 2000||March 4, 2004||Germany||Horst Koehler|
|June 7, 2004||October 31, 2007||Spain||Rodrigo Rato|
|November 1, 2007||May 18, 2011||France||Dominique Strauss-Kahn|
|July 5, 2011||September 12, 2019||France||Christine Lagarde|
|October 1, 2019||Bulgaria||Kristalina Georgieva|
In 2000, Horst Köhler was the first German to head the IMF. In March 2004, Köhler resigned prematurely after being nominated by the CDU , CSU and FDP as a candidate for the 2004 election of the German Federal President . His successor at the head of the IMF was the former Spanish Minister for Economic Affairs, Rodrigo Rato . He was able to prevail against a number of other candidates (including the Spaniard José Manuel González-Páramo , the Belgian Peter Praet and the Irish Michael Tutty ).
On June 28, 2007, Rodrigo Rato announced surprisingly that he would resign from his office prematurely after the annual meeting in October 2007 for private reasons. Former French finance minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn was elected to succeed him. On May 18, 2011, Strauss-Kahn resigned on charges of rape; the deputy managing director John Lipsky temporarily took over the office. At the end of June 2011, the IMF chose Christine Lagarde as her successor. She took up her post on July 5, 2011. After Lagarde was proposed by the EU heads of state and government as future President of the European Central Bank (ECB) in July 2019, she temporarily suspended her post as IMF President and resigned on September 12, 2019. The American David Lipton carried out the agenda of the IMF President on an interim basis . On August 2, 2019, the finance ministers of the European Union nominated Bulgarian Kristalina Georgiewa as a candidate for the office of managing director. At the beginning of September 2019, the Board of Governors of the IMF approved the abolition of the 65-year-old age limit for appointing executive directors, which had previously been anchored in the statutes. Kristalina Georgiewa, who was 66 years old at the time, was appointed by the Executive Board as Managing Director on September 25, 2019. She took office on October 1, 2019.
Deputy Managing Directors
From 1949 to 1994 there was a Deputy Managing Director , in 1994 three deputy managing directors were introduced and there are currently four deputy managing directors.
List of former deputy managing directors, whereby the first deputy managing directors (English First Deputy Managing Director ) are identified by the addition "(1.sgD)" :
|Term of office||Surname|
|February 9, 1949||January 24, 1952||Andrew N. Overby|
|March 16, 1953||October 31, 1962||H. Merle Cochran|
|November 1, 1962||February 28, 1974||Frank A. Southard, Jr.|
|March 1, 1974||May 31, 1984||William B. Dale|
|June 1, 1984||September 1, 1994||Richard D. Erb|
|July 1, 1994||January 31, 1997||Prabhakar Narvekar|
|July 1, 1994||July 31, 1999||Alassane Ouattara|
|September 1, 1994||August 31, 2001||Stanley Fischer (1.sgD)|
|February 1997||January 2004||Shigemitsu Sugisaki|
|December 1999||June 2003||Eduardo Aninat|
|September 1, 2001||August 31, 2006||Anne O. Krueger (1.sgD)|
|August 1, 2003||October 2006||Augustín Carstens|
|February 2, 2004||February 2010||Takatoshi Kato|
|September 1, 2006||August 31, 2011||John Lipsky (1.sgD)|
|September 1, 2011||February 28, 2020||David Lipton (1.sgD)|
|March 12, 2020||-||Geoffrey Okamoto (1.sgD)|
Deputy managing directors are currently:
- Geoffrey Okamoto (since March 1, 2020, first deputy managing director)
- Antoinette Sayeh (since February 25, 2020)
- Mitsuhiro Furusawa (since March 2, 2015)
- Tao Zhang (since August 22, 2016)
Since the beginning of 2019, the Indian-American economist Gita Gopinath , who previously held the John Zwaanstra Chair for International Studies and Economics at Harvard University , succeeded Maurice Obstfeld as chief economist at the IMF. She is the first woman in this position.
189 countries are members of the IMF, including all member states of the United Nations except Andorra , Cuba , Liechtenstein , Monaco and North Korea . Kosovo , which is not a member of the UN, joined the IMF in 2009. The island state of Nauru was accepted as the 189th member state on April 12, 2016 .
Member States' shares and voting rights
In October 2010, the G20 finance ministers decided that the voting shares of the 187 member states at the time should be redistributed in favor of developing and emerging countries and that the fund's flexibly available financial resources should be doubled. This was "the most important reform of the IMF leadership since its inception," said the then managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn . The reforms took effect in January 2016.
According to the statutes of the IMF, its seat must be in the country with the most voting rights.
Shares and voting rights as well as governors of the member states with the twenty largest shares of votes (as of April 2020):
|IMF member state||Share of capital:
|United States||82,994.2||17.45||Steven Mnuchin||vacant||831,408||16.51|
|Japan||30,820.5||6.48||Taro Aso||Haruhiko Kuroda||309,671||6.15|
|People's Republic of China||30,482.9||6.41||Yi Gang||Yulu Chen||306.295||6.08|
|Germany||26,634.4||5.60||Jens Weidmann||Olaf Scholz||267.810||5.32|
|United Kingdom||20,155.1||4.24||Rishi Sunak||Andrew Bailey||203.017||4.03|
|France||20,155.1||4.24||Bruno Le Maire||François Villeroy de Galhau||203.017||4.03|
|Italy||15,070.0||3.17||Roberto Gualtieri||Ignazio Visco||152.166||3.02|
|India||13,114.4||2.76||Nirmala Sitharaman||Shaktikanta That||132,610||2.63|
|Russia||12,903.7||2.71||Anton Siluanov||Elwira Nabiullina||130.503||2.59|
|Brazil||11,042.0||2.32||Paulo Guedes||Roberto de Oliveira Campos Neto||111,886||2.22|
|Canada||11,023.9||2.32||Bill Morneau||Stephen Poloz||111,705||2.22|
|Saudi Arabia||9,992.6||2.10||Mohammed Aljadaan||Ahmed A. Alkholifey||101,392||2.01|
|Spain||9,535.5||2.00||Nadia Calviño||Pablo Hernández de Cos||96,821||1.92|
|Mexico||8,912.7||1.87||Arturo Herrera||Alejandro Diaz de Leon||90,593||1.80|
|Netherlands||8,736.5||1.84||Klaas Knot||Christiaan Rebergen||88,831||1.76|
|South Korea||8,582.7||1.80||Nam-Ki Hong||Juyeol Lee||87,293||1.73|
|Australia||6,572.4||1.38||Joshua Frydenberg||Steven Kennedy||67,190||1.33|
|Belgium||6,410.7||1.35||Pierre wish||Alexander De Croo||65,573||1.30|
|Switzerland||5,771.1||1.21||Thomas Jordan||Ueli Maurer||59,177||1.18|
|Turkey||4,658.6||0.98||Berat Albayrak||Murat Uysal||48.052||0.95|
|Other German-speaking countries:|
|Austria||3,932.0||0.83||Robert Holzmann||Gottfried Haber||40,786||0.81|
|Luxembourg||1,321.8||0.28||Pierre Gramegna||Gaston Reinesch||14,684||0.29|
tasks and goals
The conditions imposed on the states in the form of structural adjustment programs (SAP) can, for example, provide for the privatization of public institutions such as savings banks , electricity and water supply, telecommunications, etc., as well as dismissal of certain groups of employees.
In addition, the IMF supports developing countries in Africa, Asia and South America in the development of growth and prosperity concepts and promotes these through direct financial aid from the donating member states. Just like lending, development cooperation is often linked to conditions of good governance (reduction of corruption, democracy, ...) and liberalization.
- Promotion of international cooperation in monetary policy
- Expansion of world trade
- Stabilization of international financial markets
- Granting short-term loans to compensate for payment deficits
- Monetary Policy Monitoring
- Securing ongoing international payments against government restrictions on the free movement of foreign currency
- technical help
- Participation in measures of the Monetary Union Financial Stability Act
Means to achieve goals
Each member state is assigned a so-called quota. The following are based on this quota:
- the payment obligations (in gold, foreign exchange and local currency)
- the special drawing rights (abbreviation SDR ; drawing on a loan)
- a country's right to vote in the IMF
- Extent of lending
If a country experiences financial difficulties, it can seek financial help from the IMF (drawing on a loan). At the request of the IMF, it can buy the currency of another country in exchange for gold or national currency. This is known as a drawing. The use of a loan is linked to certain conditions that the respective country must meet. These are known as structural adjustment programs (SAP).
A SAP could e.g. B. look like this:
- Government spending cuts
- Aim of low inflation and an increase in exports
- Banking liberalization
- Privatization of public institutions (savings banks, electricity companies, waterworks, telecommunications)
So-called special drawing rights (SDR) have existed since 1969 . A member state has the right to buy foreign currency with the help of the IMF. The Member State may use SDRs to pay for foreign currency. The SDR is a kind of world money in the payment transactions of the central banks.
- SDRs are allocated in a certain amount.
- Interest must be paid to the fund for the SDR.
- SDRs expand international liquidity considerably.
- Each time the SDR is increased, a check is made to determine whether there is an inflation-neutral demand worldwide.
Example: If z. For example, if Turkey (emerging market) turns to the IMF because it needs foreign exchange to balance the passive current account , the IMF will designate a country - for example the USA - with high foreign exchange reserves. The US then sold Turkey foreign currency for SDR.
Originally, the IMF was designed in such a way that the member states automatically had the right to receive IMF loans if the corresponding conditions existed (e.g. balance of payments problems ). After the Korean War , however, the prices of raw materials collapsed, which triggered balance of payments crises in individual member states. It was at this time that conditionality was introduced; H. the corresponding states no longer had the right to IMF loans; rather, the loans were made dependent on the fulfillment of certain conditions. B. the elimination of exchange controls and the liberalization of trade barriers . The subdivision of loan withdrawals into individual phases was introduced for the first time, with loans to Chile in 1956 and to Haiti in 1958. Each individual phase was made dependent on the fulfillment of conditions that had to be fulfilled during the previous phase. Such conditions were in the respective Memorandum of Understanding set ( "letter of intent"), which had practically contractual nature before.
Conditionality was a US initiative that was initially rejected by other states. These states took the position that the right to IMF loans automatically belonged to the governments concerned, in the spirit of the Articles of Agreement , the founding document of the IMF.
The US executive director vetoed when IMF loan applications did not conform to this idea of conditionality. As a result, IMF loan applicants no longer turned to the IMF, but instead turned to the US first. This introduced conditionality into IMF practice.
In the “ sterling crisis”, a currency crisis from March to November 1976, the British pound fell from over 2 to 1.56 US dollars despite high standby loans from the other central banks to the Bank of England . Despite the best efforts of Prime Minister James Callaghan , Britain had to seek help from the IMF and promise to meet its requirements.
Up until 1977, developing and developed countries were relatively equally borrowers to the IMF, with Britain , for example, one of the largest borrowers. Until then, conditionality towards Great Britain was not applied (Great Britain was one of the founding states of the IMF). However, that changed after the sterling was devalued several times . For the first time, the IMF was supposed to impose essential conditions on Great Britain such as reducing social benefits and abolishing import controls when it applied for a stand-by loan in 1977 . This led to the fact that from this point onwards the IMF was seen as the "last resort to which one should turn for loans", since this interference in national (economic) politics by other governments (especially the USA, whose Treasury Secretary William E Simon said that countries like Great Britain would break an "international code of conduct" with their economic policies) is seen as very unpopular. Since then, no industrialized country has applied for IMF loans. It was not until 2010 that Greece and Ireland applied for an IMF loan.
According to geography professor Richard Peet, it was only then that the IMF changed from a form of cooperation on exchange rates and international payments , which took place mainly between the industrialized countries , to a form of control of the economic policy of the “ Third World ” by the “ First ” World ". Many experts disagree with this view (sometimes massively) because the IMF is a reflection of its members and their economic circumstances.
The IMF is accused of destroying the existing social systems in many countries through the conditions attached to lending. For critics, "the required austerity programs and cuts in social programs [...] are [...] unreasonable for people in developing countries and [are] harmful to growth."
The winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics and former chief economist of the World Bank, Joseph E. Stiglitz, criticizes the IMF in his book The Shadows of Globalization for what he believes to be a “blind” pursuit of the Washington Consensus and the organization's approach to transforming Eastern European centralized economies into market economy systems. The then chief economist of the IMF, Kenneth S. Rogoff , responded to Stiglitz's criticism in an open letter. William Easterly accuses the IMF of a lack of legitimation and accountability. The cause is the increase in tasks over time, which is not secured by the Bretton Woods Agreement. Easterly also advocates the thesis that the structural adjustment and transformation policy of the International Monetary Fund did more harm than good to the affected economies.
Movements critical of globalization in particular attribute a democratic deficit to the IMF. The IMF is ultimately an instrument of power for the rich industrialized nations, while developing countries have too little influence in the IMF. On the conservative side, this dominance is often justified by the fact that the highly industrialized countries would support the IMF financially more ( money buys votes ). However, as the IMF itself noted in 2001, its own administrative expenses and target corporate outcomes are effectively funded not by the highly industrialized creditor states, but by the debtor states. While in 1982 the debtor states still paid around 28% and the creditor states 72% of the IMF contributions, this ratio was evened out in the 1990s and turned around as early as 2002, so that the debtor states now contributed 75% and the creditors 25%. In 2010, the G20 also agreed to give some emerging economies more voting rights in the IMF; After the quota increases have been paid in by these countries, the revision of the quotas is to be carried out at the 2017 annual meeting.
The accusation of a democratic deficit also concerns support for “pro-Western” and / or anti-communist military dictatorships, especially during the Cold War ; can be mentioned here e.g. B. Mobutu in Zaire , Pinochet in Chile , Ceausescu in Romania , the anti- Goulart Putschists in Brazil etc. The IMF standards are actually indifferent to democratic norms (such as human and freedom rights, rule of law, transparency, labor rights and minimum social standards) insofar as these do not serve as an explicit basis for orientation, and thus, in case of doubt, can even be regarded as obstacles in the implementation of monetary policy goals by means of structural adjustment measures. In defense of the IMF's policy, it is often argued that its measures guaranteed economic stability and that these were a condition of functioning democracies. This contrasts with the numerous factual examples of countries that, previously democratized, became more dictatorial and unstable in the course of the granting of IMF loans.
In connection with the sovereign debt crisis in Greece , which has worsened since 2008 , the IMF has come under pressure. The IMF itself reports errors in bailing out Greece. So you have also bent your own criteria to enable help. The IMF economists Olivier Blanchard and Daniel Leigh found in a working paper that a scientific misconception in some highly indebted countries of the EU has contributed to exacerbating the debt crisis. "Specifically, it was stated that a euro saved through spending cuts would hardly affect the gross domestic product - but in fact it was reduced by 1.5 euros for each euro saved."
The IMF is said to have helped the privileged to enrich themselves at the expense of the general public. There was a list of 2,600 black money accounts held by Greeks at the Swiss branch of the major bank HSBC. “But at this point,” reports attorney and current Speaker of Parliament Zoi Konstantopoulou , the Troika did not put any pressure on. "On the contrary, the IMF representative in the Treasury Department has even advised the officials not to investigate these cases," she learned from witnesses in a committee of inquiry on the subject.
Since March 2002 the IMF has published the quarterly Global Financial Stability Report , which replaced the previous publications International Capital Markets (annually since 1980) and Emerging Market Financing (quarterly since 2000).
In the foreword to the first edition of the Global Financial Stability Report in March 2002, the then managing director Horst Köhler wrote: “The experience with the rapid expansion of the financial markets over the past decade has underscored the importance of an ongoing assessment of private capital flows, which is also the engine of global capital economic growth and sometimes the center of critical developments. "
Since March 1996, the IMF has published the journal Finance and Development on a quarterly basis .
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