More about the Project




Project's Mentors

Working Bibliography and Internet Sources

NGOs and Information Technologies


Selected Sources on e-Government in the CR

Selected On-line Conference Papers

Other Important Sources





This paper focuses on the ongoing debate about the role of the IMF in international finance. The paper is not interested in what the IMF really is; it rather tries to grasp how the IMF is perceived and what political implications follow from the different perceptions. In an attempt at self-presentation and self-reflection, the IMF, seemingly dissatisfied with the observation that "despite its increasing visibility as a result of the Asian financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund remains a mysterious presence on the international scene", has set about trying to supply an adequate picture of itself. Yet, is there an adequate picture? The debates going on in the aftermath of the Asian crisis seem to suggest that the more interesting question is: how is the IMF perceived? As explicated in the paper, there are several stances in the 'IMF debate' that advance different visions of the future of the institution. IMF's future will not be shaped by what the organization really is, but by the vision that could prove strong enough to assert itself as an 'old/new orthodoxy'. The paper is organized as follows. The first section proposes a theoretical framework for understanding the present developments bearing upon the future mission of the IMF. The second section deals predominately with criticisms raised against the organization by established economists, experts, and politicians. As it is widely acknowledged that the East Asian crisis served as a catalyst of the present debate, the section focuses primarily on the criticisms targeting IMF's performance in East Asia. The third section points out the puzzling convergence of the two ideologically 'extreme' stances in the debate - the socialist and the libertarian ones. The fourth section puts the preceding critical reflections into the broader context of the debate on a 'new financial architecture' and argues that neither of the radical scenarios is likely to be put into practice. The paper concludes by summarizing the main findings and incorporating them into the theoretical framework.