Is The IMF Necessary?
T.C.A. Srinivasa Raghavan
THE IMF AND GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISES: PHOENIX RISING? by Joseph P. Joyce Cambridge University Press, 2013, 241 pp., 995
October 2013, volume 37, No 10

Is the International Monetary Fund (IMF) a good thing or bad? The answer depends on whom you ask. And that duality means the question has to be rephrased. So, here’s the right question: is the IMF necessary or not? Or, as Voltaire said about God, if it didn’t exist, would it have been necessary to invent it? Joseph P. Joyce who teaches economics at Wellesley College says—though not quite succinctly as Voltaire—yes, it would have been necessary to invent and thank God that someone did.

There were two inventors. One was none other than the formidable John Maynard Keynes; the other was an American treasury bureaucrat called Harry Dexter White. In 1943 and 1944 they met often with an agenda and decided, amongst other things, that the world needed a pool of money from which the Big Boys could draw if they could not pay their bills to each other. Keynes, in fairness to him, had a larger vision of global cooperation incorporated in the very first Article of the IMF which sees it as an instrument for global monetary cooperation and cooperation.

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