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Bretton Woods Update No.74 January/February 2011

PDF version | At Issue PDF | text version | versión en español

'Groupthink' IMF slammed for mistakes before crisis

News|17 February 2011

Illustration by Robin Heighway-Bury/Thorogood.net

The Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) found major IMF lapses in judgement before the financial crisis, including the promotion of "light-touch regulation", casting doubt on the Fund's ability to contribute to taming global finance. read article...

For the love of markets World Bank, food crisis and agriculture

by Ama Marston

News|18 February 2011

As record high food prices have contributed to unrest in Egypt, Tunisia and beyond, the World Bank's unwavering faith in markets has stirred debate about how best to address the multitude of factors underlying a global crisis in food prices. Meanwhile, World Bank president Robert Zoellick continues to champion efforts to bring agriculture into carbon markets. read article...

World Bank corners climate funds?

News|17 February 2011

As governments reached an agreement at the climate negotiations in Cancun in December, the World Bank continued to stir controversy as it attained a role in a new global climate fund, launched new carbon market initiatives, and touted the success of the controversial Climate Investment Funds. read article...

IMF nostalgia: debate on capital account liberalisation all over again?

News|17 February 2011

As emerging market economies expand tools to actively manage international financial flows to cope surges, a liberalisation reform of the IMF's statutes is up for debate again. read article...

Dollar debate continues

News|17 February 2011

In January, French president Nicholas Sarkozy stoked the debate about reforming the international monetary system while deliberations on the potential future role of the IMF’s special drawing right as a prototype global reserve currency continued. read article...

IMF serious about measuring conditionality impacts?

News|17 February 2011

More criticism emerged of IMF programmes as it begins the process of another conditionality review. Political upheaval in Ireland and continued protests in Greece are focussing attention on the IMF's controversial economic policy advice. read article...

Donor IDA pledges fall flat

News|17 February 2011

The World Bank gained a 12 per cent inflation adjusted increase from the 16th fundraising round for its low-income country arm, the International Development Association (IDA), despite flat donor contributions, amid renewed criticism of its overall approach. read article...

Heat turned up on World Bank energy strategy

News|11 February 2011

As the Bank's energy strategy approaches finalisation in mid 2011 pressure is growing on the institution to incorporate criticism by civil society groups of its current lending practices. read article...

IFC standards revision leaves out human rights

News|18 February 2011

As the review of the performance standards of the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC), the World Bank's private sector lending arm, enters the last stretch, civil society groups are up in arms about the latest draft, which has taken steps backward, particularly in relation to the inclusion of human rights. read article...

The IFI's approach to tax avoidance and evasion

Inside the inst|17 February 2011

The World Bank and the IMF formally recognise tax avoidance and evasion as a critical problem for developing countries' domestic resource mobilisation. The Bank's public position on tax evasion and tax havens does not however identify concrete measures to stop investing in companies practicing tax avoidance. The IMF addresses tax policy under its surveillance mandate and in its technical assistance, but does not have an explicit framework to deal with tax evasion. read article...

IFIs labour pains

News|17 February 2011

Critics say IMF policy contributed to fuelling unrest in Egypt and Tunisia, while the IFIs reiterate concern about growing inequality and global unemployment. At the same time unions accuse the World Bank's Paying Taxes report of condemning tax and social contributions. read article...

Recommended resources on the World Bank and IMF 2010

Resource|17 February 2011

Recommendations from Bretton Woods Project staff on the best papers, books and electronic resources of 2010. read article...

Bankspeak of the year 2010

Humour|17 February 2011

Annual Bretton Woods Project award for the most incomprehensible or absurd use of language in a Bank or Fund document or speech. read article...

The IMF's new conditionality Crafting change, lessons from Eastern Europe

by Daniela Gabor

At Issue|18 February 2011

While the 2007-2010 crisis offered the International Monetary Fund an unexpected opportunity to demonstrate that it was serious about changing its emergency lending practices, Daniela Gabor argues that in Eastern Europe the Fund ended up pushing unnecessary fiscal austerity and privileging private financial interests. read article...

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