Does the IMF really help?

A question from Yahoo! Answers:

Does the IMF really help?

Going back to the origins of the organization and the like organizations it appears that their primary function is to loan impossibly un-payable amounts of money to developing nations…using hugely over-ambitious growth statistics, then demand that they sell their souls to Western corporations and development companies when they cannot make the payments…

Am I so wrong here?

Going back to the origins, the goal of the IMF was to loan MANAGEABLE amounts of money for short periods of time to DEVELOPED (mainly European) nations whose economies were severely damaged by World War II, primarily for the purpose of maintaining the value of their currencies under the Bretton Woods system. That goal was reached splendidly. But the post-war reconstruction was over by early 1950s, while the Bretton Woods system keeled over in 1973. Realistically, the IMF had to be shut down at that point, especially because there already was another organization much better suited to serve the rest of the world — the World Bank, which, like the IMF, was created at the Bretton Woods conference, but, unlike the IMF, was to concentrate on long-term development issues rather than on short-term financial pressures…

This said, I wouldn’t blame the IMF alone for every problem in the world. The governments of developing nations have far greater responsibility for their countries’ problems than the IMF. For starters, no one forced them to apply for the IMF loans. They chose to borrow from the IMF, because they could not finance their spending agenda otherwise. In many cases, that agenda was centered on maintaining overblown security forces to repress their own people. In some cases, governments borrowed to avoid the inconvenience of taxing those who financed their campaigns. The IMF was not completely oblivious to it, but it was on many occasions asked to turn the blind eye by its major shareholders, developed countries’ governments, who used the IMF lending as a carrot in political games…

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