MONEY: The Lender of Last Resort

IMF rescues strapped nations—but demands a stiff price

After months of haggling and pleading, H. Johannes Witteveen, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, managed to herd representatives of 14 nations into the Kleber Avenue conference center in Paris last week for some pressing business. Although the nations of the world have been borrowing madly from one another and from private banks, many countries, especially underdeveloped nations of the Third World, are still unable to pay the soaring costs of imported oil. To bail out these nearly bankrupt states, Witteveen wants seven Western nations, led by the U.S., and seven...

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