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If we consider that the major reason for the IMF was to ensure global financial stablility, the IMF has failed numerous times. The post-World War II global framework did support this function; countries were still very much on a hierarchical basis, communication was not instantaneous, and for a number of countries, the sole issue was survival. Indeed, one of the important issues with the IMF has always been a balance, or lack thereof, between power and responsibility. Who is accountable if loans or investments fail? The IMF? Hardly, they say. With their guidelines, they can see no reason why any project would fail if managed correctly -- and, of course, that means management by the IMF manner -- with their objectives and their limitations -- and even their insistence on return funding methods (Wood).
In some ways, the basic criticism of the IMF is its modus operendi, and its penchant for crisis management without proper crisis management tools. Since the IMF was set up to prevent global economic crisis, it is ironic that it has focused on such throughout its history. And, in the absence of preventative measures, the present system of crisis control is badly skewed. For example, when the IMF fund enters into a country's fiscal crisis, they often leave a vagueness about debt resolution that puts the debtor country at a losing end or they overmanage that program and do not allow the country to ever get ahead. The processes to receive funding are often vague and dependent upon the "crisis or country du jour." Countries that become indebted while not in crisis were able to pull out of their issues with the IMF, while countries that were ni minor crisis only fell deeper into debt.This led to a deep recessionary scenario -- widely believed caused by the IMF (Khor). Indeed, the financial crises during the 1990s and early 2000s placed the IMF under additional scrutiny for their lending practices. In this, many experts believe that the IMF is at fault because they arbitrarily decided to extend their role far beyond both the original intentions of their charter and what the borrowing company might expect (Bird).
Over and over again we hear that the IMF may not be a legitimate body for the 21st century. However, several countries that are developing and wish to become global partners are in need of just the type of funding programs set up by the IMF. Leaders of numerous countries, in an unprecedented show of at least congeniality and willingness to discus economic issues that affect everyone are rapidly trying to stem the global financial crisis and bring stablility to the world. Most experts also say that much of the failures in IMF policy between 1970 and 1990 had to do with mitigating economic and international policy between the world's largest democracy and clients (the United States and the EU) and the world's most populace country (China). China, of course, was solidly opposed to most of what theWest offered at that time, and the IMF was stuck in the middle. Speaking to a panel of experts on international economics, one scholar positied that the IMF did not need to be sacked, just reorganized, rethought, and reinvigorated for contemporary economic concerns. It is not just up to the IMF, though, all countries must agree to accept the concept and rules of multilateralism, "One has to start from the fundamental view that if you accept public policy and you accept the interconnectedness of the global economy, then you need an institution appropriate to its regulation" (Andersen).
Thus, overall, the IMF success record is perceived as limited and remains controversial. While it was actually created to help stabalize the global economy, critics maintain that since 1980 over 100 countries have experienced a banking collapse that was serisious enough to potentially destabalize the government, and certainly far more than anytime in Post-Depression history. The IMF is a large bureaucracy, and it is difficult for it to deal quickly with crisis. Still, one might ask if having the IMF, even at marginal effectivness, is part of the process of global economic cooperation. It took a few centuries for capaitalism to develop and mature; should we expect anything less of an organization designed to bring economic development to an ever-changing and quite volatile world? The criticisms of the IMF seem fair and cogent. But the solution is likely not to continue to sell of their assets, but to change their own internal paradigm with the times, with technological development, and truly become a global organization that is in line with the WTO and other global entities. It is importat that the world have a strong and effective organization like the IMF as the major multilateral organization responsible for international economic and financial stability. However, a combination of public relations repair along with a new set of strategies and modus operendi of doing business will be necessary in order for the IMF to reinvent itself, and thus take its place as the organization it was originally to become (Truman).
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Wood, A. "Power Without Responsibility?" Carin, B. And A. Wood, eds. Accountability of the International Monetary Fund. Ottowa: Ashgate Publishers, 2005. 67-87.[continue]
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