International Money Fiends

The International Monetary Fund devastated the developing world – and now it’s targeting eastern Europe, writes Nick Dearden

It’s stripped millions of people of their livelihoods, but the global economic crisis has brought one institution back from the dead: the International Monetary Fund.

Two years ago, the IMF looked to be on its last legs. It had got to the stage where nobody wanted to borrow its money. Many developing countries started accumulating reserves to avoid ever having to go to the IMF loan shark. Developed countries in trouble would go just about anywhere – China, Russia, Saudi Arabia – to avoid the IMF.

Then came the meltdown. The IMF failed to see it coming – pretty damning for a body supposed to oversee global financial stability – but bankrupt countries suddenly had no choice but to come begging.

In April last year, the G20 pumped the organisation with £330 billion of new funds. The radical Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano called the decision ‘black humour’, saying it would ‘rub salt in the wound’ of countries hit by a crisis they did not create.

The IMF claims to have been reborn. It says it has mended its ways (without apologising for them) and will do things differently this time around.

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