The International Monetary Fund Past and Present

Christopher W. Roy

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is a complex organization whose procedures and policies have a significant impact on the world economy. From its inception in 1944, the IMF has expanded from its original charter as an organization which promotes free trade and monetary exchanges to an institute that maintains a robust international economy through various facilities that assist in maintaining the liquidity necessary for a viable economy.

The IMF has consistently added to its operations and influence through the manipulation of the economies of nations who use its credit. The IMF has created, over the past two decades, new ways to obtain and make available additional funds. The quota system, which requires a member to deposit funds based on the nation's economic health, is but one of many accounts available to member nations to assist in temporary balance-of-payments deficits.

The 144 member nations of the IMF have an unrivaled source of funds available to them. Unconditionally, funds can be borrowed from the IMF up to 100 percent of a member nation's quota. The IMF can loan additional funds with certain conditions to be met and monitored by the IMF. The IMF is a unique organization with no equal in the international economy.

Evolutionary changes since its creation in 1944 have kept the IMF in the forefront of international trade relations and financing agreements. With the creation of its own measure of money, special drawing rights, the IMF may in fact begin to even further involve itself with private banking and thus increase its influence even more on the world economy.