The IMF: Dr. Death?

A case study of how the global banker's shock therapy helps economies but hammers the poor

The anti-globalization movement serves up plenty of hot rhetoric but also some disturbing truths. Street protesters have it exactly right, for example, when they argue that the economic policies imposed on developing nations by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank have hammered the poor. Using loans and the threat of default as levers, the IMF has pushed more than 90 countries to accept its brand of free-market shock therapy: lowering trade barriers, raising interest rates, devaluating currencies, privatizing state-owned industries, eliminating subsidies and cutting health, education and welfare spending. These "structural-adjustment programs"--a chilly bureaucratic euphemism if ever there was one--attract...

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