Washington Post on A16

Seth Ackerman SAckerman at FAIR.org
Thu Apr 20 12:27:47 PDT 2000

Brad De Long wrote:

> >New and improved IFIs are needed, requiring a reconsideration of the IMF
> and
> >World Bank's policies and operations....These policy changes include:
> Weller is smart, but is part of the (tiny) pro-IMF and pro-IFI
> movement, not the main channel of the left--the one that Seth calls
> the anti-IFI movement. In short, I count Weller as mine, not yours
> (whoever "you" are :-) )...
> Is there space for a political platform that would quadruple the
> IMF's resources and require it to worry about the maintenance of near
> full employment during structural adjustment? I don't see it...

Brad, I think your taxonomy (pro-IMF vs. anti-IMF) is wrong. You cut off the part where Weller explains what his "new, improved IMF" would do:

* providing more grants and less loans, which would give recipient countries less incentive to raid their environment and exploit their workers to repay international loans;

* encouraging internal development over dependence on external capital flows;

* encouraging and providing assistance in the design and implementation of effective capital controls;

* requiring adherence to labor and environmental standards by international borrowers or grant recipients. International Labor Organization certification of labor standards, for instance, could become a condition for receiving IFI grants or loans.

These economic policies so fundamentally contradict the policies of the IMF that you would have to tear the Fund down and build it up from scratch in order to create an institution that supports them. For one thing, probably all of the senior staff would have to go. Not to mention the social forces that lie behind the Fund.

Brad, maybe *you* are sufficiently open-minded and clear-headed to recognize the validity of some or all of these proposals, but your colleagues at the IMF are clearly not. Will Stanley Fischer support the Christian Weller manifesto? Capital controls? "Internal development"? Highly unlikely.


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