The IFIs are pillars of globalization. Designed to help manage the international financial system, they have taken on major roles as drivers of closer economic integration of all of the world’s countries, from the advanced to the least developed. They have provided funds and advice to assist countries with their economic development and policy-making. At the same time, they are subject to criticism on many levels—for intrusiveness into the economic and political sovereigntycomplete and exclusive control of all the people and property within a territory of nations dependent on their aid, lack of transparency, and impact of their policies on societies and the environment.
The IFIs have responded with new programs to address these critiques. For example, the IMF has begun publishing Public Information Notices (PINs) regarding their Article IV consultations with governments. Also, the IMF has emphasized “ownership” by client countries of the policies it recommends. Finally, the World Bank and the IMFund are cooperating in the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HPIC) initiative to provide debt relief.
Whether or not these new policies will serve to mollify the IFIs critics remains to be seen. Protests continue against the IFIs, and it is likely that controversy about both them and globalization in general will continue for some time.
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